Every day can be the best day of one's life
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, June 9, 2004
Over the past few weeks I have received many thoughtful contributions
to our discussion of mortality and the embrace of life.
Cochrane resident Catherine Aylesworth, who helped launch this topic,
"I respect the need to accept death as part of life..., but my
biggest point is that we should truly live life while we're living. Life
is in the living!"
If life is in the living, then Cochrane-area resident Ernest Enns, currently
in Europe, is embracing it for all its worth:
"Treasure each day and make it a memory," he wrote. "I
am fighting my age in a way by riding my bicycle across Spain, but of
course I can't put off the inevitable end which I do not fear. I have
now ridden 1,400 km, and over 17,000 metres was uphill. That is twice
the height of Mt. Everest, so am working the aging bod."
Sometimes, however, our bodies and spirits get beaten up pretty badly
along the journey. We saw this in last week's reflection on the battered
boat in Thomas Cole's paintings Voyage of Life: Manhood and Old
Age, and in the example of the late Becky Beaver, the Stoney Nakoda
elder who chose life over death when struck with blindness as a youth.
One of our coffee companions, in her own way, has travelled in Cole's
boat, has walked in Becky's moccasins:
SO CLOSE to the rivers edge I was. So close to embracing that which
would steal my life's breath away. The cloud of indecision passed quickly
and with it came life as new as the rising sun.
I have found the way to embrace this life is to take hold of life
and death and eternity and fill my mind with the God-honoring thought
that it all belongs to us. For if we seek to possess only one element
of God's plan, then we will never find the greater meaning of this life
he has given us.
When I sought death, life and eternity fled in the dark wings of despair.
The times that I chose to embrace life for the pure pleasure of what
it provided my carnal soul, I awoke feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
Then I chose the path of a quitter and sat down, with a decided thud
on my suitcase, awaiting my departure to a better life, straining my
neck by looking upwards so that I lost all contact with the humanness
of love and pain and sorrow and joy.
Today I wake up and thank God for my life, made so much in His image,
yet not enough that I do not search for Him each day. . . . In my many
exhilarating trips down the river paths of Cochrane, God heals my soul
with the breeze in my face. His flowers and budding trees are the aromatherapy
to what ails me. Unclouded by the confines of a building, I have found
the House of God, and He has welcomed me with open arms.
Colette Broder, Cochrane
THEN THERE'S this note from the Patient Representative at Calgary's
Tom Baker Cancer Centre:
I APPRECIATE Becky's attitude. Someone once said it's not what life
gives you that's important, it's how you handle it. I hope, at the end
of my days, my boat is battered and barely recognizable from its once
new shiny self. That will mean I took God's challenge to meet each day
head on, whether it be a good or not so good day. God gave us choices
in how to meet our days.
After facing cancer on four occasions, I choose to make each day the
best day of my life, and you by the way, are helping me celebrate it!
Mind you, if I see you tomorrow or next week, I'll say the same thing.
Thanks for helping me celebrate every day as the best day of my life.
I remember you did a column once on epitaphs. Wonder if mine will
read, "There she goes, off on another adventure."
Barbara Cameron, Calgary
THANK YOU, readers, for your reminders that life is, indeed, in the
© 2004 Warren Harbeck
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