Monday, February 8, 2016

I have a 96-year-old step-mom who says she doesn't know why she is still alive. Sometimes she gets so depressed, she just wants to call it a day. I can certainly understand that at her age, all of her friends have gone, her health is failing, she is dependent on others, and she can't do any of the things that made her happy and gave her purpose. She asks me frequently, "Why am I still on this earth?" 
How does one answer this question? 

This past week, I have lost a wonderful colleague who touched the lives of so many of his students and teacher friends. We lost a neighbor down the street suddenly. She had flu-like symptoms and simply closed her eyes. We have another friend who has fought for years one cancer and then another. She clings to her life. 

When I look at the question, "Why am I still on this earth?" I ask myself why people who want to live are taken away, and those whose lives are coming to an end are permitted to linger. This is not my question to answer, and, Heaven knows, I couldn't. I do believe, however, that as long as we are on this earth, our main purpose is to reach beyond ourselves and touch the lives of others in some way--even if it's only ONE single life. As we become numb to horrific disasters that take hundreds of lives at a time, we sometimes forget the value of just one. If that life was your son or daughter's; if it was your mother or father's, your best friend's, that one life would have an incredible impact on you, and the impact on you would be felt by everyone who knows you.

One single life is valuable. Part of my purpose is to provide a laugh for my 96--year-old step-mom when I talk to her on the phone once a week. It's a reminder to me that time is fragile and fleeting. When I get ready to hang up the phone, and we've both been laughing from the gut over something inane that I've said that starts her giggling, I am reminded that touching just one life resonates with me, and I need to put more people on the list to call.

If only one person reads my blog, and in some small way, I bring a smile to that person's face, a question that needs asking to that person's mind, a statement that comforts that one reader, then my blog is a success.  Who can you call today? Who needs a giggle in your circle? It only takes a few minutes.