Never Take For Granted
None of us, not one, is promised a tomorrow and so we should never take for granted our lives that we have. I see people who spend their lives in misery, focusing on only the bad, the negative and I think “my gosh do you see all the time you are wasting that you are missing enjoying being with your loved ones, your children, your family?” And I have concluded that no they do not see or they would not do it.
While we should never take for granted those that enter our lives no matter how briefly, we should also never take for granted the effect that we have on others lives. We never know how much just our smile, our touch, our reaching out to say I care, our listening, our just being there can affect others. We are here for a reason and until we find our reason we will never realize just how much we affect those around us. I am always amazed when people I do not remember would come up to me and tell me of how I had touched them because of something I did that I had thought was insignificant…but was not insignificant to them.
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There is something else I think we should not take for granted and that is the people in our lives, whether it be those there forever, those that came for a period of time and left, chance encounters, whatever. So many people I am blessed just by having met them. No, they are not in my inner circle but they blessed my life just by the brief time they were in my life. An example is a man who came to our church and he lived under a bridge for months and came in dirty, carrying a backpack with all his belongings. He was hungry and we always eat after service at our church and we always gave him what was left to take with him after church was over. Now, he is living with some people and out of the weather.
He was also so grateful for everything though. I remember giving him my reading glasses because he wanted so badly to read the song books and the Bible and the pure joy he showed over a two dollar pair of magnifying glasses just left me speechless. He made me realize that we should never take having a job, a home, a vehicle, family, children, friends, family of choice, …any of that for granted for you can lose it all in one swoop. And yet this man was smiling and happy all the time. He had learned that happiness was his to choose even as he huddled under a bridge wrapped in blankets and cardboard in below zero weather. And never once did I hear him complain of what he was enduring. It made me appreciate my life even more even though I am in a hospital bed and very sick and in a lot of pain.
My Facebook consists of a small group of close friends made up of those I have known from the past 40 years. Some I talk to daily. But, I stated thinking about chance encounters and how people appear in our lives when we least expect them, and how our lives are enriched because of them. That is what I want people to say about me when I die…”my life was richer just having known her”.
There is a man from Germany that enriched my life, taught me that our place of origin does not change our hearts and lifted me up in more ways than one. I was with the group in Rome and we were downstairs looking at rooms in the Vatican. I knew that it would take me longer to get back up the stairs so I decided to go ahead and start as I had wandered and looked at everything. I had found that the very people I came on this journey with became irritated because I was disabled. What a sad thing to say but it was true.
And so, I begin my journey step by step up these long, narrow and uneven stone steps; one foot up and bring the crutches and other foot up….step by step. Suddenly I felt a hand under my arm and turned and it was a man I had never seen. Step by step he walked with me, motioning others to move on around me and when we got to the top, in a bold voice he said “Gut!” and patted my hand, smiled, patted my cheek, nodded and walked off. My life is forever enriched by him for he taught me that there are people who care even when it seems like no one does.
Never take those you see on the street for granted. Never assume that you know who and what they are for you do not. Many see the homeless and think they are useless and lazy and what they do not see is that they are people just like you and me who have had a hard time. Take the time to look beyond the clothes, beyond the dirt of living on the streets and see the person. You might be surprised to see that there are honorable people out there living on the streets and even families who have no where else to go.
And most of all, never take for granted love. Love is a gift given to us and yet so many just throw it away because they no longer want it as if what was given to them meant nothing. Love comes in many forms and each form can enrich our lives if we just allow it. When we take for granted, we have lost something precious that we may never find again. People have lost the meaning of marriage, have lost the meaning of commitment, have lost the meaning of love and lost the meaning of friendship. And then they go searching for that “elusive happiness” when they may have just thrown away the very one who will treat them like a king or a queen and love us just the way we are.
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And never ever take for granted that you will have tomorrow to accomplish what you should have done today. Tomorrow may not come or tomorrow may not come for those we cherish and love. I am a firm believer in “never let the sun set on your anger” because I never wanted to argue with someone and then something happen and I never got to make up with them. So, when you think “Oh, I will go see so and so tomorrow” remember, you or they may not have tomorrow. Or say to yourself “I will call, take food, help, reach out to so and so …tomorrow.” Live each day as if it were your last so that you leave nothing undone.
I follow this even in my daily living. My sons always used to ask me when younger why I never left dishes in the sink when I went to bed and I said because I might wake up sick or one of you sick or something come up and I can not get them done in the morning and then I have a bigger pile tomorrow night. Dishes is a small thing but an example of doing today what we need to do and not putting it off just because “we are not in the mood” or “we do not feel like it”.
Live like you are dying…never take anything for granted and find your happy spot inside because it does not lie out there.
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