Let’s live while we are alive

Let’s live while we are alive

“Don’t wait to do the things in life that you have always wanted to do. Life is short. Live every day.”

This quote was sent to me in a card over the weekend, and I read it several times. I have to say I agree with the sentiment more than I ever have in my life. But then, that may very well be because I am older. I do know that time goes by much more quickly than we can ever imagine. When I was a young teen, I could not imagine when I would ever turn 16 and be able to get my driver’s license. Now, I wish I had someone to drive the car for me. I also wondered if I would ever grow up, get married, have children, and be happy. I did that. I grew up, I had my babies, we learned together, and now I have grandbabies, but to me, my son and two daughters are still my little boy and girls. They are part of me, and mothers just do not see them as grown adults functioning in society. I look at them and I wonder, “When did they grow up?”

Time is a strange thing. It is fleeting. It is eternal. One minute it seems as if it will never pass, and at other times, it seems as though it is flying by so quickly we cannot keep pace. If I could leave one piece of good, sound advice to my children, it would be to enjoy the time you have. Make it count. I read another quote this week that said, “Death is not the thing to fear. Not living while we are alive is the thing to guard against with all of our might.” In thinking about that, I believe the writer meant to be certain to get it all in. Do what you want and as long as you want (as long as it is not harmful to yourself and others, of course). Don’t allow anything or anyone to make you stop living while you still have breath to breathe. Take on a project, plan a trip, visit loved ones, engage in a hobby, read, appreciate nature, go fishing or boating, become involved in the local library or work on a church committee. Find something you enjoy and set about to do it.

One thing that has turned my mind in this direction was that I was sent to interview a lady who has a good story to share. I was surprised that she lived in a senior care facility, but I knew the one she had chosen was very nice, had a capable staff, served great food, and offered good care. I arrived, made my request at the desk, and waited for her arrival. A few minutes passed while I caught my breath, and then an aide stepped in front of me pushing a lady in a wheelchair that looked very frail and ill. I had not realized that the person I was to see was considered medically ill and certainly not as infirm as the lady appeared to be. We went into the library, chatted for a while, and I got the information I needed for the story.

I remember the lady. She seemed very sad to me and really had described no joy in living. I tried to be positive and asked questions leading in that direction. As our interview time was ending, I knelt down beside her chair and said, “I will be praying for you and trusting God with you that you will soon be better.” With that statement, she looked at me with an absolute look of sheer horror, and said, “Oh, no, I will never be any better.” I asked why not. She said, “Oh, they have sent me here to die.” Not wanting to get into matters I had no need to know, I said, “Well, perhaps you will prove them to be wrong.” She shook her head and tears came from her eyes. “No, no, no,” she murmured.

Hating to leave her upset, I sat back down and chatted a while longer about happy subjects: the weather, the birds outside the window, and anything I could think of to keep her mind from dwelling on her own issues. I said, “If you don’t mind me asking, and I likely won’t put it in the article, but how old are you?” She lowered her head and said quietly, “I will be 55 in September.” I was stunned, shocked, and speechless. I was at the time 73 and still working every day that I wanted to do so. She was nearly 20 years younger than me, but she had given up hope. She wasn’t that ill medically, but she had resigned herself to the bitter end. In my opinion, she had lost hope. She no longer thought she could live. She had little purpose except to wait to die.

This was one of the saddest scenes I have ever witnessed and I could think of little I could do to help her. It broke my heart. I still think about her from time to time and trust she has made changes in her life and found new purpose. 

Folks, let’s not die while we are living. It will come soon enough. Let’s get out there and do something fun. Meet new people. Help someone. Let’s live while we are living.


Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.