Appreciating Life

Yesterday Carol and I visited dear friends we only see once a year when we are in Florida. She is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s and has only moments of alertness.  He devotes his life to keeping her comfortable with every ounce of his being. This morning we exercised and swam at the YMCA which was teeming with life and energy in the bodies of a youthful swim team, children playing basketball and adults of all ages engaged in various exercise routines.

Together these experiences reminded me that life is a continuum from the helplessness of infancy through the stages of life, leading up at the end of our lives to returning our bodies to the earth from which they came. Throughout life we gradually become aware of the simple pleasures life brings us as we pass through it on a daily basis. We also face many challenges at each stage of life and hopefully learn to handle them with the help of those who love us and help us stay on our path.

Sometimes we become trapped in regretting how we acted in the past or in worry about what the future might bring. Both are a waste of our time. We can’t return to the past and change anything about our past lives. Worry about the future will not make us handle its challenges any better than if we did not worry about it.

Yet we can learn from the past. By our own reflection and with the help of those who care about us, we can learn to make better choices in the future and be better prepared for whatever awaits us. In this way we can use our new skills to handle old challenges which may reappear. We can also develop the confidence to face new and unknown situations.

A more balanced approach to our challenges should also free us to find joy and satisfaction in the simple joys and delights which also await us. Each of our lives is a mixture of delights and challenges. Learning to enjoy the delights and manage the challenges as they arise is the key to living a satisfying life. I hope you will be able to keep this balance in mind as you make your way through this new year of  2019.

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