Reading this thread has done my soul good . . . and the comments have reminded me of a few life-altering experiences that I have had in life. I think most everyone at one time has a point in their life where something happens that causes you to pause for a bit and reconsider your life, your goals, your expectations.
I have had more than a few of these moments in life and figured I might as well share them with you folks.
The first life altering experience I had came out of an off-hand comment made by a veteran firefighter years and years ago. This firefighter was talking about how family and friends should always be a person's first priority since, "When you're on your deathbed, those folks at your side in those last moments probably will not be your co-workers."
That off-hand comment really sunk in with me and made me take a serious look at the various organizations I was involved with and I came to the realization that family and friends are truly the most important thing. At a funeral service the person giving an eulogy never talks about how much money a person made, how famous they were or how beautiful they were . . . all these things are fleeting . . . in fact, all eulogies touch on the truly important and lasting legacy . . . how our life has touched others and affected them.
As a result of that comment I began to focus more on family and friends and less on "getting ahead" in life and work . . . to tell the truth when I die (and I'm kinda hoping it may not be right away) I would love to have people say that I was a man who loved and was loved.
Perhaps an even more eye-opening experience occurred a few years ago, actually it was two events spaced a year and a month apart . . . one September my father-in-law died and the very next year my younger sister died in a car crash.
No other event has made me stop and take stock in my life. For the first time in my life I realized that while we can make plans for the future, the fact of the matter is, our days are all numbered and we never know what the coming day, much less tomorrow will bring. Our lives can be altered in a minute and oftentimes there is nothing we can do to change how our lives have been re-directed.
Due to these deaths I try to live in the present . . . I plan for the future (hey I'm still optimistic), remember the past . . . but realize that things can change so quickly. This new life's philosophy has made me appreciate life on a daily basis since it is so fragile and can slip away so quickly and unexpectedly.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."
"Death is only one of many ways to die."