Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Life Well Lived

“Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” 
~ William Soroyan

“Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; 
make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.” 
~ Horace

I couldn't pick just one quote today.  In fact, I'm not sure I can pick just one thought for this blog entry.  My thoughts are disjointed...much like the fact that I attended a funeral during what is supposed to be the "most wonderful time of the year." 

My career at the Presbyterian Home for Children was an incredible opportunity to meet some of the world's most generous, kind-hearted people in the world. But often these amazing people were in their twilight years, so I have attended a large number of funerals to remember those who have passed on and are receiving their crowns in Heaven. Those of you who know me well also know that I love hearing stories about people's lives and the differences they made for others. So attending these funerals is a great chance to hear some of those stories.

The gentleman being remembered today was 90. He lived his life to its fullest. He loved his family, and loved his country. I learned so many things about him that I never knew by attending his funeral. I always knew he was a great guy, but now all the dots are connected for me. It wasn't just a hunch I had. His sweet spirit was something everyone else saw too. I also know he's in Heaven with his precious wife.

However, today I not only got to hear stories about this great guy whose family was involved at PHC. I was blessed to see many of the great people who made my job there so amazing. I sat down the pew from a gentleman who actually got married in the auditorium at PHC back before his church was built. He is in his late 80's and very introspective. When we talked, he mentioned to me that he is in his latter years like Roy was, and how he is trying to enjoy he time he has left. It made me sort of melancholy to hear him talk that way...even though I know he's right. He's looking back on more years than he'll ever look forward to again.

No sooner than he said that to me another gentleman walked up and told us that his 100th birthday is just around the corner (in July), and he hoped we'd be able to make it to the party. Coincidentally, he was the other gentleman's music teacher in 5th grade! And while talking about that, the 'student' got teary eyed...which of course made me tear up too. It reminded me that I need to be thankful for my youth. To enjoy what I can do because it won't last forever.

A friend (closer to my age of 29) and I got to discussing how reflective many of those in attendance must be. They are slowly saying goodbye to all of their friends as they grow older. And they realize that their demise will come sooner rather than later. It must be the strangest feeling. We were both a little sadder for thinking about it. Not so much for what we'd experience someday - but for those who were going to leave and reflect on that fact. *sigh*

So....I resolved today to live my life to its fullest. If I haven't been already, I will make the most of every moment. Take mental pictures of everything - and appreciate every feeling, good or bad. I will be thankful for this life I've been given.  

When I am gone, I want people to remember that I lived and didn't apologize for it. That I cared more than they ever thought possible. And that I loved with abandon. That I gave all I had to give......

Anyone with me? 


brienna said...

Clovis said good-bye to a 12 year old today. Full of life and love - he made his days count. I'm in, too!

Don Wood said...

PHC has truly changed many lives. Not only those of us who lived there, but I am sure anyone who has been fortunate enough to be involved with "the home" realizes that it really is the miracle on 34th strret. I'm in too!

Charee said...

Don - you are definitely one of the people that changed my life along that journey. :) I'm so glad God gave me the chance to meet you!

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