Bad news blares like an alarm and shakes my very existence. Within a short span of time I’ve received bad news from several people I care about. Too much all at once. Each person’s news is a reminder of the fragility of life and the ever teeter-tottering balancing act of happiness.
These bits of news are wake-up calls that cry out for life lessons to be revisited. In the blink of an eye, life can change. I’m acutely aware of that – savoring joy and living in the moment are underlying themes in many of my posts. Still, I let my guard down occasionally, complacency slides in and auto pilot takes over allowing life and happiness to be taken for granted. I’m sure there are countless others like me who need to be shaken awake from time to time by life’s wake-up calls.
Most of us let the details of our every day lives consume and control us to the point were life’s big picture is no longer in focus. We sweat the details and deny ourselves moments of joy. In my post On a Need to Know Basis I wrote about learning a life lesson when one of my cousins fell ill and passed away. I tell many of my friends, who fret and worry over their children’s grades, S.A.T. scores, and such, about how my cousin’s story has always helped me keep life in perspective. My cousin was close to finishing his freshman year in college when he became ill. Before he slipped into a coma and died he told his dad that he was sorry about his grades. My aunt and uncle are not unreasonable people. Like most of us they had hopes and dreams for their child and they pushed him to study hard. They never imagined that his last words to them would be about grades. We would all probably agree that in the big picture of life, grades aren’t really that important, but yet we can all probably relate to getting caught up in the details of grades. Put the details of whatever makes you angry, sad, frustrated, worried etc., into proper perspective – or whole life perspective – and see if that doesn’t change your outlook on life a little.
Paint the big picture of your life in your mind and what do you see? What is important enough for you to include? What should you be grateful for? It takes practice and daily awareness to live a grateful life. Life is all about making choices. We have no control over certain aspects in our lives, but we can choose how we react and interact. As we go about our everyday tasks or write out our daily “To Do” lists, we must make sure we don’t forget to find some way of showing gratitude. Acknowledge people that support you in your workplace or in your community, find the positive in your job, be grateful for your health, tell your kids you are proud of them, and so on. We should make sure that the messages we are sending to those we care about come out loud and clear. The “unsaids” should be said more and the “saids” should be said less. The best intentions left undone are often ” I should of . . . ,” “I wish I had . . . ,” ” I was going to . . . .” Don’t miss the opportunities in life to show your thoughtfulness or gratitude or that you care. Don’t wait to be shaken awake again.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Steve Strann, a loving husband, a doting father, a fun neighbor, and a most wonderful friend who’s forever changed my outlook on pelicans, squirrels, orchids, and all things electronic.