Monday, May 25, 2009

The Gift Of Life

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine last night, about life. Well, to be more specific, we were talking about the gift of life each living creature has been given. If you really think about the overwhelming odds against life anywhere in the universe, the gift of life is one that is truly extraordinary.

No one knows if the universe is infinitely large, or even if ours is the only universe there is. Although our view of the universe is limited, our imaginations are not. Astronomers have indirect evidence that the universe of galaxies extends far beyond the region we can see. But no one knows if the whole universe is infinitely large - large beyond limit.

... NASA

There are folks who subscribe to the theory of God creating life, breathing life into Adam and Eve; and there are folks who believe life was purely an accidental lab experiment in a primordial soup. And there are people like me who think the truth may be somewhere in between. I like to believe there is a life force in the universe, a Higher Power, as it were. Wouldn't it be too awful to consider, if life on Earth were the only life in the Universe, and we were created by accident? Whatever (or whomever) created life, the very fact of it is a miracle, and each of us has been given this miraculous gift.

It didn't occur to me until my conversation with my friend last night, that most of us don't appreciate the extraordinary gift we have been given. Whether by accident or design, we have been the lucky ones -- the chosen ones -- each and every one of us. As we go about our day-to-day lives, how often do we consider the fact that we have been granted a miracle. How many people are truly happy, every day? We spend so much of our time just taking care of the business of living, do we ever stop, take a deep breath and just think that the very fact that we are here is amazing. I know that is often difficult to do, most of us have so much to worry about. Get a job, earn enough to keep ourselves and our families in food, clothing, a roof over our heads -- perhaps enough money left over for hobbies, sports, vacations. We let the commonplace events of our lives rule our emotions, and sometimes that makes us afraid to live. I am as guilty of that as anyone. I work with people who are so stressed over the most trivial matters, they are ruining their health. They have created a microcosm of a world around them that they feel is eminently important, and they rush around to and fro, to and fro, making themselves ill. "What would this office do without me?" Well, it would go on as it always has, just fine.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

... Mahatma Gandhi

My friend with whom I had the conversation last night is concerned because she feels she is nearing the end of her life. No one knows that for sure. All we really have is today. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not happened yet. We should learn to savor the moment, to enjoy the "today" of our lives.

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

... Dr. Seuss

And now I am going to sit down and enjoy (savor) a Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate Orange Intense chocolate bar -- just because -- it's a miracle.

32 comments:

Russell said...

It is not often I can be the FIRST one to comment on one of your posts - so I am going to do it!

Life is not a four-letter word. Well, okay, it is ... but it should not be treated as a four-letter word. Life is to be lived and enjoyed.

Often the best things in life come about when a person is willing to risk doing something that is outside their comfort zone. Maybe taking a trip or starting a new job or making a move or even being willing to consider such things (you have to start somewhere).

I recall Teddy Kennedy's words at Bobby's funeral: Some men see things as they are and ask why? Other men dream things that never were and ask why not?

Excellent post - as always.

ivan said...

I kind of like this Canadian joke, told by an Arcadian comedian.

"You know, de scientists say de galaxy has dis big black hole in de middle.

"Right away, I thought of T'under Bay."

Hilary said...

A fine post, Jo. The quotes you've chosen fit in perfectly. Have a Lindt for me, will you, please?

And I'm laughing at Ivan's joke. Lard T'underin' Jaysus, it's funny! ;)

Cedar said...

You know you always amaze me. One day you tell a little colorful joke and then the next day you write this. Life should be like you, unpredictable...in a good way.

tinkerbell the bipolar faery said...

Every moment resides in NOW . All we have is NOW. And what a gift we have in life!

A great post!

scarlethue said...

I read that whole poignant post, those very well written thoughts you collected, and this is what I have to say...

I LOVE dark chocolate and orange! Save me a bite! :)

Jo said...

Russell, do you remember the fellow who walked a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center? He said that that was the most alive he had ever felt in his life. That's funny, hey?

Ivan, LOL. I have been to T'under Bay. I agree with him. *heh*

Hilary, I have eaten the whole chocolate bar1. Yah, Ivan is a hoot. :-)

Cedar, thank you! I try to mix things up a little bit. :-)

Tinkerbell, yes! Every moment resides in now. What a beautiful way to say it. You're a poet!

Scarlethue, all gone! *heh* I really did enjoy it, though. Now I can smile as I remember it. :-)

Marcella said...

"Plan as if you will live forever and live each day as if it were your last."
Lindt Oragne Supreme - my favourite - had two squares last nigh. Most nights actually.

Jo said...

Marcella, only two squares? My goodness you have more will power than I have. Or as my mother used to call it "won't power". :-) And yes, "live each day as if it were you last."

the walking man said...

I find that in spending time thinking about how much or how little time we may or may not have is a waste of the commodity being spent.

There are better things to consider such as are my fingernails too long?

Firefly said...

I don't know when last I got to sit in an informal conversation or discussion about things this deep. I see myself as a religous person, but like you I believe that there is a middle way between the two main believes of where life and the universe comes from. And I do believe that there is more life out there somewhere.

Rebecca said...

Mmm, Lindt. I'm a little late responding, but your post made me think of something a friend of mine said once: "I don't buy lottery tickets because I know I've already won" - she was referring more specifically to being born in Canada (as opposed to other countries where life might not be so comfortable), but I think it applies to what you were saying as well. We are the lucky ones, Jo. Thanks for the reminder.

On a side note, I just blogged about a beautiful spot on Pender - Roesland park - do you know it? Somehow I think you would like it.

AJ said...

This was a very interesting post :) Even for me, a devout and passionate atheist.

DUTA said...

Life and Death are in the hands of God (High Power), and therefore great mysteries.

Owen said...

Hi Jo, your piece here made me think right away of a poem that came to the surface recently in anther context, but seems pertinent here....

Reptiles And Roses
(by Robert William Service)

So crystal clear it is to me
That when I die I cease to be,
All else seems sheer stupidity.

All promises of Paradise
Are wishful thinking, preacher's lies,
Dogmatic dust flung in our eyes.

Yea, life's immortal, swift it flows
Alike in reptile and in rose,
But as it comes, so too it goes.

Dead roses will not bloom again;
The lifeless lizard writhes in vain;
Cups shattered will not hold champagne.

Our breath is brief, and being so
Let's make our heaven here below,
And lavish kindness as we go.

For when dour Death shall close the door
There will be darkness evermore;
So let us kneel in prayer before

Each day and let our duty be
To fight that mankind may be free
There is our Immortality.

============================

I always loved Robert Service's work. Another line that comes to mind is from the excellent film about the Boer War called "Breaker Morant", wherein it is said : "You should live each day as though it were your last, because one day, you are bound to be right !"

Cheers !

Alissa said...

Thank you, Jo, for this thought provoking post, and thanks too for all the comments everyone has made. Somehow it was exactly what I needed this morning.

white crow said...

HEY!!!
i m always happy these days, even tho things aren't the way i wanted them to be. Does this kinda thing happen when u turn 19? due to some hormonal things???

hahahaha.... black hole...XDDDDD.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Owen,

Yes. Robert W. Service, all throgh high school english.
But then I like the cowboy too.

Hank Williams:

Faded love
And winter roses.

Chi Leong said...

Perhaps it says something about me but I liked the Dr. Suess quote the best.

pranksygang said...

wow!.. thats a gr8 post.. i'm moved to see how mature you guys are and how you can think in different angles....

i cant give definition about life.. but all i know about life is ..
ITS BEAUTIFUL TILL I'M SINGLE!

KathyB. said...

Yes! Life is a wondrous miracle and we are only given one life on this earth! It does seem a waste to use it up being miserable. After all, we had no choice in being born, but do have a choice when it comes to our attitude and actions and how we live our life!

Starlene said...

Wow. I really just had to stop and smile after reading that. Although it's only loosely related, I was just blogging on my personal family experiences that lack a deep appreciation and enjoyment of the gift of life.

I'm really grateful for this post...and grateful for the smile it brought. It's soothing to hear at least one person take the time to accept the gift of life and all it implies with conscious awareness. It is easy to forget.

The Bug said...

So I was reading all the comments, getting ready to add my thoughts to this GREAT post, when I got to The Walking Man. I had to laugh - I've been filing my nails while reading. They WERE too long!

I'm an in-betweener too - & always say that those who believe in creationism have a God who is too small. Every week in church I'm reminded of creation & my place in it. It's just an amazing world, & here I am living, breathing, filing my nails...

Jo said...

Mark, *heh, heh* Well said!

Firefly, yes, I believe there is other life out there too. Definitely!

Rebecca, Pender Island is one of my favorite places! Yes, I know it well. I will visit your blog!

AJ, well, I guess even atheists can appreciate the gift of life. :-)

DUTA, I wish I had your faith, but unfortunately my beliefs are a bit different.

Owen, what a beautiful poem! "Cups shattered will not hold champagne." I love Robert Service too.

Alissa, yes, sometimes we need a wakeup call, don't we?

White Crow, LOL, when you are 19, the whole world is roses. :-)

Ivan, yes, Hank Williams was great, wasn't he?!

Chi Leong, I LOVED the Dr. Seuss quote as well...!

Pranksygang, yes, life can be beautiful at all stages...! :-)

Kathy, my goodness, yes! We have choices about how we feel, and how we approach life. Great point!

Starlene, oh, yes -- the gift of life. It's ours to do with as we wish, isn't it?!

The Bug, *heh, heh* One of my things that I do for myself is a manicure. It makes me happy. You have the right attitude. :-)

Mary Ellen said...

After recently losing a friend to suicide, the thought of life and how precious it is has been on my mind a lot. To throw it away, especially at a young age, is so sad. Everyday is a new experience, a fresh start. It shouldn't be ignored, taken for granted, or ended by our own hands.

Jo said...

Mary Ellen, I read your post about your young friend, and I was heartsick. Please accept my condolonces. And yes, once you're gone -- you're gone...

Mean Mama said...

Wonderful post Jo. I was thinking today how I should be more thankful for everything.

mo'ikeha said...

One who has 'why' to live, bears nearly every 'how'.
Thanks again for telling me to be happy because alive.

Wendy R said...

Dear M o T

I came across your blog by accident and have loved reading it for its wity tone and reflective comment. Relishing the gift of life is a timely reminder about something which is easier to do at some times than others. However your relishing of life is evident in every page of your blog. I so enjoyed reading it and the comments of your readers with whom you are obviously so in tune.
I will be back to read more to cheer me up!

Wendy

A human kind of human said...

Yesterday is a cancelled cheque, tomorrow a promisory note. All we really have is "today" or my favourite: "Today is my savious, cricified between two thieves, Yesterday and Tomorrow."

Paula Slade said...

Your post was so thoughtful Jo, thank you! Every so often it is good to be reminded of all the miracles around. I'm sorry about your friend - I hope she is wrong. Now,a "Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate Orange Intense chocolate bar" - I can't stand it!!! I'm going on a chocolate hunt right now!

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