Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
When it comes to life the critical thing is whether we take things for granted or take them with gratitude. Gilbert K. Chesterton
One of the keys to the good life, I am reading, is negative visualization. Really, thinking how bad things can be will make them better, or make me feel better about them? But, when we think about the impermanence of life, and embrace there is a time when we will kiss someone for the last time. We will go for brunch at that restaurant for the last time. We will talk to a friend for the last time. We’ll write our last letter, read our last book, dance our last dance, paint our last picture, ride our last horse, or pet our dog for the last time.
If we are cognitive of that, perhaps we will enjoy the meal at that restaurant a little more. Enjoy the visit with a family member, a little more. We will wring more out of the moments in our life because they are fleeting whether we acknowledge it or not.
I’ve had conversations with a friend whose family also lived far away. We can have a long-distance relationship that is close in every way but being near them. There may be an added benefit in that our conversations are deeper, we talk about things we might not have if we could stop in for tea whenever.
We can take our families for granted and not make time for important conversations because they could happen anytime, so they sometimes don’t happen at all.
I read a story in the book “God’s Two-Minute Warning” by John Hagee. He tells a story about a young man taking a class. In the class, the teacher tells them to tell someone in their life they love them. The young man is driving home and thinks of his father who he is on the outs. He drives to his father’s house and when his father opens the door, he said, “Dad, I love you.” The father says, “I love you too, son.” Two days later his father has a heart attack. It was almost too late for him to heal the breach, but going forward without his father will be easier because he did heal it.
Let us not take for granted that life exists more fully in what is commonly thought big than in what is commonly thought small. Virginia Woolf
One of the things Dad always said after I left home was, “You never know if you’ll see me again, or if I’ll see you again.” It sounded so morbid, but it was the truth. It was also a reminder not to leave things unsaid, undone, and unfinished. The last hug was one time truly the last hug, and it will be for all of us.
In “A Guide To The Good Life” by William B. Irvine he talks of two fathers each with a daughter. One contemplates what life would be like if his daughter were to be gone from his life. The second father is oblivious to this. The author tells us the first father will enjoy his daughter a little more. He will know this could be the last soccer game of hers he watches. The last time he takes her to a theme park. The last time he takes her for ice cream, or the last time they go out to their favorite restaurant. By savoring what he knows is not permanent or guaranteed he enjoys the moments with his daughter more. The second father may hardly notice his daughter as he goes about his busy life. Until all those moments he didn’t savor are gone.
I’m not saying we should say to our husband over breakfast. “I was just thinking what it would be like without you.” He could take it the wrong way. “Or, he could say, “I think about what life would be like without you all the time.” But, sometimes these are conversations that need to be had. “Dad said to Mom, “I don’t want to leave you, but I know I am going to.” Death will come to all of us but if we acknowledge it, perhaps we savor the moments in our life a little more.
We need to enjoy what we can enjoy today because we can’t take things for granted, and not taking things for granted may be the best way to live the good life.
We can’t recover the moment after it’s missed, the word after it’s said, and the time after it’s wasted, but we can make the best of what we have, where we are.
The things you take for granted someone else is praying for. Unknown
When life is good do not take it for granted as it will pass. Be mindful, be compassionate and nurture the circumstances that find you in this good time so it will last longer. When life falls apart always remember that this too will pass. Life will have its unexpected turns. Ajahn Brahm
It’s amazing how many times in life I’ve said, “I want to do that someday,” not thinking that someday might never come. I will never again take someday for granted again. Lisa De Jong
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