Friday, June 11, 2010
Passing, a reminder to be happy
This week brought the horrible news of a childhood friend’s passing after a battle with cancer. While we were no longer close and I knew little about his private life, we stayed in touch twice a year when I visited his office for exams and cleanings.
In the call from his office a few nights ago, his assistant’s wind-up delivered a blow I wasn’t prepared for. For a moment before the conclusion of her fateful sentence, I imagined the call was about a postponed appointment because of his parent’s passing. But no, it was about my friend himself. He'd never told me he was fighting cancer.
He died too young. He was my age. It is a powerful reminder that our time on this planet, in this lifetime, is limited and therefore precious. I feel very sad for his family’s loss, disappointed that his children will no longer have their dad.
The news shook me, telling me again that life is not to be wasted. But what does that mean? Partly it shows me I must cherish all the moments of life – that I can truly soak in my journey and really pay attention to my fellow travelers and the beauty of the world around me, wherever I am. It reminds me I must pursue what is in my heart, and that I cannot put things off for some future day that may never come. It’s a message to live fully. To make courageous choices. To be in the present.
We shouldn’t need brutal reminders of mortality to make us pay attention to the sweetness of life. So, perhaps, that's the gift this weekly practice of observing and acknowledging happiness brings.
Let’s pay attention. What brought happiness to you this week?