Illness gives us that rarest thing in the world–a second chance, not only at health but at life itself! Louis Bisch, physician, in 1937
When we are diagnosed with a serious illness, along with the fear and shock, we start asking dozens of questions. What happens now? What are my options? Will I die? How long might I live? What does this mean financially? What about my children? What are the side effects of treatment? What does this mean for me and my family? How will I tell my Mother? Who will I tell?
There are so many practical matters that require answers as we step forth into unknown territory. And yet, something else looms large. Many people, including myself, soon discover two additional questions arising to the surface:
What Things Matter?
The answer to these two questions are often the catalyst for transformation. And each of us has to answer them for ourselves.
Illness can provide us with a wake-up call. We can use illness as an opportunity to get down to the business of living. Surviving a plane crash can do it too. ( 5 minute Ted Talk) When we come face to face with our mortality, we can use it to reassess our lives.
I suppose, it would be better if we did this without the urgency of illness, but most of the time when things are sailing along, we feel no need to question the status quo.
What’s interesting, when we do take up these questions, is how we zero in like a laser beam and quickly separate the wheat from the chaff, as my Grandmother used to say. What is that wheat for most people? Relationships.
Old fashioned notions around love, friendship, kindness, helping, community, telling stories, making memories. And time! Wanting time to live and live it with loved ones, doing things that are meaningful. It is rarely about what money can buy and way more about the things that money can’t buy.
We are all creating meaning with every single interaction we have.
There isn’t an encounter, in person or online where we don’t leave evidence of who we are and what we care about. Each time we play peek-a-boo with the child at the next table or smile and say hello to the homeless person, crossing the street, or spontaneously buy a bunch of tulips for our friend, we are creating a meaningful moment.
Meaning isn’t a big glossy package that comes with awards. Those are not to be denigrated; it is a wonderful thing to be recognized for our contributions. Yet, even more, a meaningful life seems to be made up of all the small things that go in to being a helpful neighbor, offering a shoulder to lean on, taking time to call our faraway aunt.
Living a meaningful life is available to everyone. All it takes is the courage to let go of what doesn’t matter and start spending your precious time and attention on what does matter.
We are all meaning makers. We can all lend a hand, love, and be kind.
Stay in touch, OK. Trudy
Note 1:) A note, subsequent to last week’s post. Certainly, 15 minute activities are not for everything. Many projects demand long periods of focused work; yet, fifteen minute intervals can work wonders.
Note 2:) Spring break is here, in Ottawa, and we are excited by the sunshine, blue sky, extra hour of daylight and an opportunity to disrupt our usual routine. Grandchildren skiing and snowboarding for the week and I have time to devote myself to projects that flourish with blocks of fifteen minute periods strung together.
Thank you for showing up here, week after week. A deep bow to you all.