Monday, October 19, 2009

Thoughts on my 43rd Birthday

The biggest gift I have received from my diagnosis and subsequent physical disability of A.L.S. is to not mourn or regret what I lose or don't have but rather to focus on the things you do. I view each day as both an opportunity to do something good and to find the happiness it will bring even though you sometimes have to look hard for it.

It has now been 16 years since that fateful day when I was told that I had possibly 3 more birthdays to celebrate or maybe 5 more at the outside if I were lucky so the advice I was given was to go plan my funeral "you know make it a party to celebrate the life you had." It was at that moment I heard a faint NO in the midst of the shock and dismay overwhelming me on this horrible point of reckoning in one's life that is dreaded and feared. It took me several months and that NO growing louder in my head to realize what the NO meant. NO I wasn't going to plan my funeral, NO I wasn't going to worry about my death and NO I wasn't going to stop fighting and striving to make a difference. It was in that moment of NO or rejection of conventional thinking when I not only retook my life but I began truly LIVING! Too many people in this world go about their lives complaining, worrying about what they don't have or someone else has and they live in regret of what they have lost or the life they could have had. What they fail to realize is that what they're doing is essentially "planning they're funeral"! This isn't living.

Living is waking each day like it's your last. It's finding the good instead of the bad. It's making a difference in the lives of others that you touch even in a small way even with just a smile to brighten their day. It has nothing to do with fear or judgment or hate. The one thing that has troubled me recently is the rise in these things between people just because they have different points of view since it's robbing us of living together in a better life. It has been and will be through our differences that our greatest strength and accomplishments come which can only be achieved through civility and respect. Living is helping others even when they don't know and cannot help themselves. It's appreciation for each day and those whose paths you cross during it. It leads to happiness, fulfillment, achievement and understanding but most of all living is about love. This is why I hope my life serves as a reminder to quit planning your funeral and start living your life again.

The things that you have that truly make you rich are not money and possessions since they are temporary and fleeting but rather it is love that endures, the love of family and the love of friends both old and new. This is why I am truly a rich and blessed man.

Here's the quote for today: "Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? . . . So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today." -Matthew 6:25-34 (NRSV)


Gary said...

Great uplifting thoughts Jeff. Thanks

Cathy Curths said...

very uplifting snd true. thsnks for posting this, Cathy,
Have dx of mnd and it seems like te doctors are planning my demise!

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