"I know. We all have an alpha and an omega. It is just that the omegas are tough. The older we get, the list of loved ones and friends who have gone on before us gets longer and longer."
It has often been said that life turns on a dime. In other words, the vicissitudes of life can change in an instant. For example, I have not told this story before, as it still shakes me up. About three weeks ago, we were taking my grandson back to his house. He was all buckled up in his car seat, and my wife was in the back seat with him reading him a book.
We were on a 55 mph county road, when up ahead we saw a car going slowly on the shoulder with his hazard lights on. As we came up to pass him, there was a semi-truck coming the other way. Just as we were passing the car on the shoulder, that car (without looking), decided to join our lane. He missed us by inches, and we missed the oncoming truck by a foot or two. Needless to say, in an instant, the day could have turned out very badly for many people.
A good friend of ours about my age, who is very active in her retired life, recently had some gastrointestinal problems. She went to see her doctor, as she thought it might be her gal bladder. It was, and then some. She had cancer in her gal bladder and her liver. Her abdomen was full of blood clots. The blood clots had started making their way up to her heart. Long story short - she was on her way out. Just like that, her life changed. Now she is undergoing chemo and has started taking very strong blood thinners to reduce the chance of any more clotting.
Most of us have similar stories to tell. Close calls, friends with life changing illnesses, and so forth. So why bring up such a dour subject on a nice November day? Perspective. Every time we get caught up in the minutia of life, were we worry about the small stuff, a life changing event happens to us, a loved one, or a friend. It can get us re-calibrated, real fast. We are reminded of the fragility, and the temporary condition of life. How fast life goes, and how quickly things can turn on a dime.
The pettiness we feel at times, is just that - pettiness. Hatred and hard feelings take up valuable space in our hearts which should be reserved for love and forgiveness. Why is that? As relational people, we need each other. To know and care for each other. Every day we have is a gift - a gift to know our friends better, to help others more, to care on a deeper level. I am so, so very guilty of not doing this. I really am.
Sometimes, I think God needs to tap us on the shoulder to remind us of something very important. Do not sweat the small stuff. And by the way - most of what we are concerned about on a daily basis, is small stuff.
We went to the hospital to visit our sick friend yesterday. It seemed odd to see this vivacious woman, who always is full of energy and fun, laying in a hospital bed with IV ports coming out of her arm. Instead of talking about pickle ball or wintering in Florida, we talked cancer instead.
I know. We all have an alpha and an omega. It is just that the omegas are tough. The older we get, the list of loved ones and friends who have gone on before us gets longer and longer. So, what then, is the take away? The lessons learned?
Our time here is not limitless. There is an end coming. Until that end comes, there is stuff to do. Love, help, serve, forgive, live. As my former boss would say, "This is that thing called life." Yes Bob, it certainly is. And may we never - ever - take it for granted.