Have you ever experienced a perfect storm of events that seem to come together just to wave the flag of your own finite nature right in your face? It can trigger some soul-searching and spark some deep questions. And lead to us to new insights, too, if we’re willing to go there. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of just such a storm.

The first event happened about two weeks ago; two friends celebrated milestone birthdays. That’s what I call those birthdays that count your life in decades, instead of years. One friend turned fifty and the other, seventy. It reminded me that my middle daughter is also celebrating a milestone this year. And since she was born the year I turned thirty, I’m headed for a change of decades, too. I remember thirty as a tough year for me — giving birth, leaving my twenties, and the sudden death of my mother-in-law. Teetering on the brink of depression, the weight of my own mortality drew into sharp focus. This year, although I’m in a healthier state of mind than I was at thirty, my milestone birthday will still give me pause.

The second experience came in email form. I subscribe to several writers’ email lists. These writers send regular doses of writing advice and inspiration. One day, I received an email from Suzanne Lieurance of Write By The Sea. She’s usually very encouraging. Most days, I read her emails and feel ready to conquer whatever roadblocks stand in my way. That particular day, her note was entitled, How To Be Ruthless With Your Writing Time.  It was more like a slap in the face than a note of encouragement. She basically said if you’ve made a time-management plan and are failing to stick to it, then be warned that you can’t get that time back. Your time is finite. Woah! Its not like we don’t know this. But, boy, do we do a good job of living in denial. Whatever our goals are, however we try to plan our time in pursuit of those goals, we don’t have forever to accomplish them. Truth.

And, then, two days ago, I attended a funeral. There’s nothing like a good funeral to bring mortality to our attention. Thanks to streaming technology and the Covid19 pandemic, I actually watched the funeral from home. A faith-filled, eighty-five year old member of our church had died of a brain tumor. The priest giving the homily spoke of this man’s grappling with the prospect of death. He likened it to the interplay of Tevye and Golde in Fiddler On The Roof — rewriting the scene as a dialogue between the dying man and God, with the man asking “Do you love me?” and God answering, “For eighty-five years…” However long we have, and whatever we try to believe about an afterlife, we still have to come to terms with the fact that our time on earth ends, eventually.

Lastly, on the advice of a friend, I watched the Disney movie, Soul. What a beautiful story of life and death, meaning and purpose! In the end, life’s purpose isn’t to be found in one extraordinary accomplishment, but in the living of every moment to its fullest. Our time here is finite. Hopefully, that thought spurs us on to make the most of it, rather than waste it. Time is a precious commodity. Let’s each spend it well.



Gratitude Spiral: Day 347

Today, I’m grateful for my husband, who’s celebrating his birthday this weekend.

There are so many reasons to be thankful for him. My life has been blessed for the past forty years, since that November youth retreat to which a mutual friend invited him. My life has never been the same. And I’m grateful. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 338

Today, I’m grateful for my son who celebrates his birthday this week.

He was my first-born and so I’m really celebrating the day I became a mother, too. I’m thankful for the reminder to reflect on who I’ve become as a result.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 258

Today, I’m grateful for our youngest daughter, born on this date decades ago.

No matter how much we plan for pregnancies or births, the timing is never really completely in our control. Sometimes, daughters are born on holidays or special anniversaries and make those days even more special. Happy birthday, B.!

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 248

Today, I’m grateful for this first day of August.

August is a special month for my family, complete with birthdays and anniversaries and usually a few beach days thrown in. What could be better? 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 168

Today, I’m grateful for my first daughter, born on this date more than 30 years ago.

Who could’ve imagined the beautiful, independent woman she’d become! I count her among my greatest blessings. 🙂

Who are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 149

Today, I’m grateful for new ways to celebrate birthdays.

With social distancing, comes a new challenge: how to make birthdays special for friends and family. I’ve seen neighbors decorate their cars and head out for birthday parades. Last night, I attended a virtual birthday party via Zoom. I’ll bet a lot more people have revived the traditional sending of birthday cards, too. And I’ve made it a point to mail Birthday Rocks to my friends. I’m thankful there are ways to make someone feel special on their birthday during this time of isolation and distancing. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?