A Different Perspective

2 Apr

Some days the keyboard calls to me and I can’t wait to write. Others are more thought out, and then there are the days when I have no idea what to write about until I sit at the computer and just let whatever words are supposed to come just spill out. Today, while musing about a topic to write about, I thought of a thousand subjects, but the one that won’t leave my head is how short our journey can sometimes be on this Earth.

This weekend marked the 15th anniversary of my father’s crossing. He was 54 years old. I don’t mourn his passing. I rejoice that when he passed, he was free from the cancer that wrecked his body, and he was free from the personal struggles that plagued his life. I should probably add here that I am a person of deep faith in a force beyond our comprehension and a better place to go after we leave this life. I was raised a Christian and still attend a Christian church, but I respect the Truth in other religions I’ve studied, and truly realize that in most ways, we’re more alike than different, but I digress, as usual.

This weekend, a friend of a friend of mine passed. She was a mother of two children under the age of twelve. She and her ex-husband live far apart. Her current husband will not have custody of the children he has lived with, and the children will probably have to move out of state to attend a new school, away from the family and friends they know. It sounds tragic and so much like a Lifetime movie script, but does it have to be? What if, rather than mourning what everyone has lost, the family focuses on the gift of having had time to say goodbye, the peace that surrounded the passing, and the possibility that everything happened exactly as it was supposed to happen to teach them and others around them the lessons they are intended to learn in this life?

In the case of my father, I saw first-hand the damage that abusing your body causes. It led me to make different choices about how my family and I eat and what we eat and drink. It taught me that the pain from running and severe workouts, at least for me, are an abuse of my body and feel more like punishment than joy. From that I’ve found yoga and meditation, which is a much better form of keeping my body healthy along with gentle to brisk walking. I find joy in the process instead of pain, which I believe is much healthier. I am grateful to my father for teaching me that lesson.

In the case of the young mother that passed this weekend, I am grateful for the reminder that no matter what we plan for, sometimes, life is short, and if we want to live without regrets, we need to live fully every day. I am not a fan of the saying to live every day as if it were your last because, honestly, if I lived every day as if it were my last, I would never clean a toilet, do a load of laundry or go to the grocery again. For me it’s easier to think in terms of how I treat others. It’s why my husband and I rarely fight because I would not want him to spend his last day on Earth in conflict with me. It’s why I get up every morning to make breakfast for my high school age children and send them off with rolling eyes as I say “I love you! Have a great day!” It’s the reason that my youngest child, when he can get himself ready quickly, sets a timer so we can snuggle on the couch until it’s time to go to the bus stop. To the young mother that passed, I thank you for helping me remember the meaning in those moments, and I’ll pray that your children have as many of those meaningful moments in their past, present and future as possible.

So today, complain less and appreciate more. Look for joy in everything you do. If you can’t find any joy, either change what you’re doing or change your perspective about what you’re doing. Even cleaning a toilet is a blessing to your family if you choose to look at it that way. If you have children, take a moment to tell you how much you love them. If you are married, tell your spouse how much you appreciate what they do, and who they are. For yourself, decide to life your life as fully as you can and make your journey a lesson in love and joy for yourself and everyone that you meet. Do what Mahatma Gandhi said and, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Thanks for being you and have a great day.


One Response to “A Different Perspective”

  1. Kim April 3, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    I love all of the wisdom in this post, Karen! Thank you for the gift of your words.

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