Present Appreciation

I was watching a show this evening.  The main storyline dealt with a plane crash and the ensuing makeshift triage center that was established to treat the survivors.  Thankfully, the show was fiction.  Unfortunately for us, we know all too well these tragedies happen in real life.

And of course there was the one character who lost a loved one in the tragedy.  It just so happens this characters’ last words to her special someone were words of hate and anger.  10 minutes of the show are devoted to showing the character attempting to reconcile those harsh words with the burnt, dead body of her relative.  Words that fall on ears incapable of hearing.  Words that are uttered not for the benefit of the deceased, but rather for the comfort of the living.

And through it all, we see the same, old story lines.  We hear the same, old clichés  Shoulda’, coulda’, woulda’.  The moral of the story is that life’s greatest tragedies are not in what we do, but rather in what we don’t do.  In what we don’t say.  In what we keep to ourselves. We sit there and try to empathize with this person who is feeling sorry for themselves because they can’t take back what they said.  They can’t undo the past.  They can’t go back and do the right thing.

We’ve all been there.  No one is immune to these feelings.  And yet, we live our lives allowing ourselves to get caught up in petty disputes and headstrong tug-o-wars.  How quickly we forget the lessons of love, humility and compassion we felt in our hearts after September 11th.  The sense of global unity in which we all took part after the Tsunami in Asia.  The feelings of community and giving we experienced after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  It’s as if we are all briefly enlightened and then brought back to the reality of every day life.

Why can’t those feelings of neighborly love and Samaritan-ism live in us every day?  I mean, why does it take something bad to make us all act so good?  Why can’t we live in a world where it’s okay to tell someone that you appreciate them?  And I don’t mean tell them because they recently did something for you and you feel obliged to do so.  No.  I mean tell them out of the blue and for no apparent reason.

I could rattle off a list hundreds of names long of people I appreciate for whom I have never taken the time to tell them so.  I think we all can.  And in typing this, I just realized the ability to make such a list is at the same time both good and bad.  It’s bad because I don’t take the time to stop and be sincere and tell people ‘Thank You’ for the little things they do that make my life better or easier or brighter.  The flip side of that coin is that I am blessed to know and be surrounded (and in most cases, loved) by so many people.

I thought about using this forum to mention a couple of individuals, but I figure that is a gesture best reserved for personal attention.  I know I can get preachy sometimes and come across as opinionated and difficult, but at the risk of sounding cheesy, I am hoping you will do me a favor.  I ask that when you finish reading this entry you take a moment to tell someone you know how much you appreciate them.  And don’t cop out and tell someone easy like your best friend or spouse (although sometimes a spouse is the last person with whom you want to share a moment).  Instead, pick someone who would least expect you to tell them something like that.  And if they asked you why, simply tell them ‘just because’.

Life is good not because good things happen, but rather because we make them happen.  I hope you have a great day today (and everyday for that matter), and I truly appreciate you reading!

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