our gift

 Do you ever wonder what you’re fighting for?

Why the rat race? Why the stress? Why the anger? Why the pain? We’re all going to die in the end, anyway.

A little over a month ago, my favorite professor breathed his last. He was 73, recently retired; a pillar of wisdom, lover of truth. I still can’t believe I’ll never see his name in my inbox again: Dr. H.

A little over a week ago, a shining star expired in a car accident. She was young, and young at heart, and was married to a wonderful man. He had two college-age kids; his first wife was taken by cancer. His new bride was bubbly, vibrant, fun-loving, sweet. She was full of life, and full of love. She was a blessing to everyone she met.

As I’ve been, again, reading news articles (a silly thing to do, I know), and reflecting on the above stories, I’ve been again saddened by the world in which we live. I know I shouldn’t focus on the negative, and I don’t, but it’s hard to ignore all the headlines, especially when they fall close to you. And it makes you wonder, “Why?” and “What’s the point?” and “How much longer do I have?”

In March 2013 I wrote a post I called “Superyou.” In it, I envisioned a world where everyone worked in a field they loved — where your passion was your paycheck, where what you were good at was your mode de vie. Today, I’d like to tack onto that. Can you imagine a world where everyone was doing something they loved, and which somehow benefited someone else?

Dr. H dedicated his entire life to teaching. He was known as a strict teacher, but fair. I knew him as kind and concerned about his students. He was there to help, and that didn’t always mean being his students’ friend. Amy was loving, bubbly, and kind. God and her family were her focus. She was adventurous and loved to travel. She was always worried she wasn’t doing enough when, as the outpouring after her death has shown, she was always doing so much.

We never know when our time will come. The only thing we know is what we do with today. And we also know that it is better to give than to receive. What are you giving? How will you be remembered?

How will I?

13 thoughts

  1. I don’t know about how I will be remembered, but I try to be able to look back on each day and recognize something that I did that was nice, something that was fun and something that I learned.Other things get worked in, but if you learn something everyday, you’re making progress.

  2. “Can you imagine a world where everyone was doing something they loved, and which somehow benefited someone else?” That would be an ideal world. And ideal world where everyone was happy with what they were doing with…then again, without pain and grief, we would never really know the true meaning of happiness. Sorry to hear about your professor. He sounded like a nice guy who listens and pays attention to those around him.

    Giving is something that has to come from the heart for it to be sincere. What’s the point of giving when we don’t feel like it? Do we do it out of obligation sometimes? Or maybe some are wired to give. We can give in the smallest of ways: a smile. A simple hello. Doesn’t need to be big.

    • I agree, Mabel, and I think that was my point. Amy was known for her joy and for giving joy to others. What better gift could one give — small and yet SO big? Dr. H was a very special man. I plan to write more about him. I believe everyone should have their own Dr. H in their life.

      Always good to hear from you! Hope you’ve had a great week. =)

  3. Sigh … you’re living through one of those challenging moments. Over the years, I’ve had this experience a number of times. When I was 30, my best friend died suddenly of a heart attack. He was only ten days older than me, so clearly he was far too young for such a thing. A few years ago, a co-worker who was in her early 40s passed away after a battle with cancer. Those are the two times that jump out at me, but there have been others, where co-workers, acquaintances, and others, leave this world at a far too young age or under less than ideal circumstances. Each time, those who remain are left to wonder the questions you ask. And to challenge themselves and others to do better and be better and learn this lesson. I hope you find a way to give more in your life and to be remembered as you wish to be.

    How will I be remembered? I hope it is simply that I did the best I could … as a father, as a husband, as a friend, as a human. Nothing more or less. I don’t want stardom or fame or applause. I just want to be able to live my life in the spheres that I occupy the best way I know how.

    What am I giving? Ah, well that’s a tough nut, right there. I gave the world my two sons, who are now embarking on the first stages of adulthood and I can only hope that in the raising of them, I taught them to be better than I.

    • I love your entire comment. Don’t know that I have much worthwhile to add. Death comes far too often and has affected us all, and we know that someday it’s coming for us, too. I think most of us want the things you stated, and especially to know that we have been effective in our own spheres. Although… It seems most celebrities these days are total idiots who would’ve been far better off if they’d never “seen the light.” The world could stand to benefit from a few more “normal” celebrities.

      Thanks for your comment, King! They are always thoughtful and meaningful.

  4. The type of world you mention would be great for awhile, but then I think we’d need more. There is something about the questions you ask that hold both despair and hope ~ and I think it is good to have both and find that balance…as hope makes us want to be better, and despair ensures that we take action to be better. One thing, as beautiful as life is, it is also a cold and harsh place at times that is so heartbreaking… Wish you well.

  5. I echo versions of Dalo’s comment about the dualities in life. How we perceive life, others, events is up to us and those close to us. Without the depths of despair, we cannot fully appreciate the euphoric highs of joy. Without loss, we cannot fully appreciate all we have. Without fear, we don’t move in courage.

    What am I giving? Open arms. Embracing arms. Come what may. And whatever whomever does, I know I’ll survive and sometimes even more alive, more grateful.

    Warmest wishes and hugs Jess. <3

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