Saturday, February 25, 2012

THE NEXT TEN MINUTES

I have a high school reunion coming up.  It's an all-class event held every year by the alumni committee of a military academy that closed down in the mid Seventies. It's a chance to meet again with those men who, when we were boys, shared many of the same experiences, all of us affected more than we knew by the school's motto: Truth, Duty, Honor.  There are faces I expect to be there; In fact, there are faces I take for granted will be there. But no one has a lock on the next ten minutes. One face I took for granted would be at the reunion won't be there. Another of my classmates let me know last night
 that our friend and fellow classmate Dave Feagans died from complications following a motorcycle accident.

Okay, the class of 1960 is around seventy years old, plus or minus, funerals of persons I know are getting all too frequent, I know how close I've come to that final checkout in recent years, and the TV news can't get enough of celebrities whose lives are cut short by drugs, murder, or mayhem. This doesn't even factor in all of the suicide bombing nutcases out there, drunk drivers, muggers, addicts acquiring the wherewithal to buy drugs, workplace accidents, and so on. Find an old geezer and get him to talk on the subject of life, and sooner or later you are going to hear, "Life is short." Yeah, we all know this. Yet I still take that next ten minutes--that next ten years--for granted.

I expect to be alive ten years from now. I act like it's a done deal. I expect you to be alive ten years from now, and I act like that is a done deal. In very real terms, though, that means I'm taking your life for granted, and even more distressing, I'm taking my own life for granted.

How to turn this around? Not taking anyone's existence for granted would mean valuing every moment spent in the now. It would involve getting closer to those we love and respect, telling that man or that woman what he or she means to you. It means becoming vulnerable, loving, open to love, and humble enough to accept that the ticket we each have on this ride will not last forever.

Life is a very precious gift despite all the bumps, potholes, and wrecks. That's why I got clean and why I stay clean: Life. I love being alive. I also love you being alive. Take care today and do whatever it takes to stay alive.

Thinking about my dead friend, and others who passed out of my life, I opened my front door this morning and learned that it had snowed last night. This is what I saw:





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