It really takes just a minute for a life to change.
Very simple events which happen all the time, yet can in a moment change life as we know it. Something as uneventful as a contraction which results in an early birth, a secret which ends a marriage or a stomach/headache which leads to a diagnosis of cancer.
Life changing events… some come after years of chasing a dream or working toward a goal and others, well, they just seem to come in a brief and sudden moment. They usually come without warning and the majority of time leave us scratching our head, scared to death and wondering… now what?
Make no mistake; I’m not a ‘life’ expert, coach or preacher prepared to tell our readers how to live to make the most of your life. Truth be told, I’m like everyone else and just doing my best to make it to Friday each and every week.
Yes, Friday. That is my day of significance because it leads us to the weekend. Weekend time is priceless in our family. It is the time we do our best to pause from every day life and ‘live’ our moments. We seem to manage to squeeze in a few errands and chores, but always do our best to find time for family and friends we may not have time to see during the hustle and bustle of the week.
But recently, as I readied myself for work I could not help but think of all I learned about ‘life’ during 2011. Yes, I am one of those people who reflects back on life… often.
I do this mainly because I am often in awe of so much. It never ceases to amaze me how things ‘work’ themselves out. How so many seemingly meaningless moments somehow eventually can lead to something big. Or how what felt like a tragedy at the time we are living in it, ultimately reveals to be a blessing in our life.
It’s truly amazing to me, how if we put our minds and our focus in the right place, even the worst of circumstances can reveal the ‘silver lining.’
So, no - it is not my purpose to preach on how to live, but rather challenge us all on how we use our moments.
I recognize that to some extent living somewhat as an optimist is a gift. A gift I attribute largely to my mother. Growing up, pity parties were never allowed. I was always challenged to be grateful because things could be worse.
For instance, when diagnosed with Epilepsy in my pre-teen years. It was a diagnosis which resulted in not being the first of my friends to get a driver’s license. At the age of 16 and with a December birthday this felt like the end of the world.
It was a short lived pity party, as I was introduced (by my mother) to documentaries on children confined to hospital beds because their seizures were unable to be controlled through proper medications.
And yes, eventually I did get my license and an adorable convertible to go with it. It all worked out, just as it should.
I guess you could say, I naturally seem to gravitate to the ‘bright’ side. It’s a character flaw perhaps. A flaw which this past year, actually had a dear friend calling my mother to make sure I was not having some sort of breakdown and hiding behind happiness. True story.
As my life seemed to fall apart to the outside world, I held tight all the blessings I had been given and was grateful… often. In that moment of challenge, I recognized how fortunate I was for so much. I have an amazing family, wonderful children and friends who somehow seem to complete me.
So as coffee conversations swirled on the tragedy of what had become my life, I clung to my faith and my optimism.
Some challenges are bigger than we expect and yes, I have my moments (many of them). But once my eyes are dried, tissues cleared and I return to my head I cannot help but recognize all that is good in my life.
So what does this mean to our readers or is this just simply a twisted journal entry?
My hope is that whether you read my words from a studio apartment or a McMansion adjacent to a Golf Course you see the value and blessing that is your life.
Life is not wasted on people. As ‘people’ we somehow choose to waste our life. And yes, at times these decisions come because of ‘moments,’ life changing moments.
As we ease into 2012, my wish for each of you is to not let the moments win. Good or bad, big or sad, live through each moment and then… Keep going.
In the end, we never know which of those moments will be our last. Wouldn’t it be a shame if you let that one simple misfortune get the best of you versus you getting the best of it? Think about it.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.