And take nothing for granted.
Christmas is rapidly approaching and if 2016 taught me anything, it is to enjoy every moment.
I had a doctor friend pass away a couple of months ago. At 65 years old, he appeared to be in the pink of health, but was suddenly struck down by Leukemia and a stroke. Despite all of the attempts to save him, which were considerable, he lasted 103 short days before passing away. At the end, his body was emaciated, so much so, his coffin was closed for his funeral.
He was a good man, good father, trusted and dependable doctor, and was dedicated to his church. We would often see him at lunch at a nearby restaurant where we would discuss at length the world’s current events and share a few laughs. His wife is a peach with a great sense of humor. They were blessed to have raised a fine son and daughter, and were now beginning to enjoy their grandchildren.
His medical practice was successful which afforded him an opulent house on the Gulf of Mexico, sports cars, and season tickets to the Tampa Bay Rays. His passion for baseball included coaching his son and friends in Little League. He also possessed a civic duty and readily volunteered his time and donated money to several charities and his church.
Hundreds of people attended his funeral and during the ceremony several people stood up to say a few words in remembrance of him. His son struggled with the eulogy, but somehow got through it. Several tears were shed; it was quite touching.
Despite all of his success and generosity, watching him struck down so suddenly caused several of us to consider how precious life is and why we shouldn’t take it for granted. When you are young, there is a tendency to feel invincible, causing you to overlook life’s little intimacies which we should relish, but commonly overlook.
This was reinforced over the Thanksgiving holidays when we had a member of the family suffer through respiratory failure, but fortunately is now on the mend. It was scary for all of us. I had another friend whose mother tripped and fell just before Thanksgiving, thereby causing her to break her hip requiring surgery to replace it. Another friend had a foot operation, and several others experienced severe colds.
I mention this because we normally host a party at noon on Thanksgiving with friends and neighbors. We call it the “half time” party as it allows people to escape the kitchen for awhile and share a glass of cheer. Unfortunately, due to all of the medical problems, we couldn’t hold this little get-together this year, and we all missed the camaraderie.
From all of this, I’ve learned to appreciate every moment; to sit and talk, to laugh, to listen, to help and support, to take pride in our work and pastimes, to become a benefit as opposed to a burden on others, to be grateful for our health and the simple joys of life, to take nothing for granted, and to simply enjoy every moment.
Keep the Faith!