Monday, February 26, 2007

A Defining Moment

In almost every life, there is a defining moment -- meeting your beloved, the birth of a first child, allowing a life's lesson fully to permeate one's being, an epiphany. It's always nice when a defining moment is positive, but often, these personal watershed moments are anything but positive.

The defining moment in my life was the day my maternal grandmother -- Floy J. Sparling -- died. One minute she was fine, standing in the kitchen making lunch for my grandfather. A few minutes later -- after complaining of a sudden headache and taking my advice to lay down on her bed for a bit -- she was gone. Just like that.

Other relatives and friends had died before. I rationally understood that all things die, but I had never personally watched someone move from life to death in the blink of an eye.

This one event nearly 20 years ago has influenced almost every second of my life since. I still think of my grandmother often. More importantly, it has caused me to realize just how fleeting and ephemeral life on earth is. And I try not to take the routine for granted.

Each time my wife or I go off somewhere without the other, we say what everybody says, "See you later". I realize, however, that everyday someone says that to someone else and that later never comes. Something happens in the interim and they never come home again.

Each second we are here on earth could be our last. (Who knows? Maybe this could be my last blog entry ever.) While I don't want anyone to think my life is filled with maudlin thoughts, I do make the effort to cherish even the most mundane of moments.

Our lives are a gift of immeasurable proportions. If we are able to recognize the depth of this gift, then we will do everything in our power to embrace it in the good times and the bad times.

If we neglect it, one day it will be gone and we will discover we have wasted the greatest gift of all.

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