“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” – Marcus Aurelius
This past weekend, as I floated around Elk Lake with a cold adult beverage in my hand and live music in the air, I took a moment to stop and appreciate things. My beautiful wife was floating next to me having an awesome time. We were in the company of great people; friends old and new, and an awesome couple of people who allowed us to invade their lake home for the weekend (thank you, Rodney and Terri, for your hospitality. We truly had an amazing time). Our son was with Nonna and Gramps for the weekend, and he, too, was having a great time. He got to go fishing for the first time, and he even touched a fish, which is way more than I would be willing to do. Yuck. In that moment, things stood still, and I was able to feel just how great we have it. Sure, we’re not blessed with monetary riches, but we are blessed with great family and friends. We have more than we could ask for, and though sometimes the Monday-Friday grind gets the best of us, I find it of the utmost importance to take time to slow things down every now and then to get a true evaluation of what’s actually awesome in our lives.
Contrast that with this current week. On Wednesday, July 30, 2014, my family laid to rest Mr. Lou Hart. Lou was my step-grandpa. He and my Grandma were married for 20+ years. Lou was a World War II veteran. Lou was a gunner in fighter planes and was a general B.A. all over the place. Representatives from the Army were present at that burial, and gave him the formal military sendoff, which was outstanding and very touching. Lou was a good dude, and will be missed. He had a great sense of humor and was incredibly smart. I kick myself for not having made a better effort to have gotten to know him more.
Obviously, burying a loved one sucks. However, in both things I have written thus far, the same message rings true: take the time to appreciate what you have while you have it. Time is fleeting. It is often the experiences and memories of things that really last and stand the test of time. It is imperative that we take time to bask in appreciative reflection as opposed to lamenting the loss of things when they’re gone. Certainly, we’d love to have back our loved ones that have passed, but it’s not possible. I’d also love to be floating around a lake with the King of Beers right now, but it’s just not in the cards for me.
I’m not always great about this. In fact, just last night I said to Amber, “I wish we were looking forward to going on a lake trip this weekend.” However, I have made it a personal goal to be more appreciative and grateful. I am often really bad about this exact thing, choosing to long for what’s lost as opposed to appreciating it for what it was. I’ve seen it in the growth of my son. So many times I’ve wished for him to be able to progress in some way, only to wish he was more of a little boy again once he mastered a new skill.
Take the time, folks. We can only be happier for it.
Have an awesome Friday,