It’s a beautiful day here in southern Alberta; partly cloudy, 19℃, a light breeze. The grass is finally showing its hues, slowly poking through the greyness of the winter past; trees are in bud, and already have that light, springtime green. I sit outside, sipping on a cup of coffee and smoking a pipe, soaking it all in.
Despite the serenity of it all, the day seems to be filled with death. First, the news that comedian Tim Conway has passed away, a legend of his time and a staple of my childhood. Then, I happen upon a news interview with Alex Trebek, the longtime host of Jeopardy! He’s talking about his struggle with stage-4 pancreatic cancer. And finally, news comes that an old high school colleague suddenly passed away, this morning, someone who is remembered as one of the kindest people ever to grace this planet.
I’m 53 years old, dammit! How can high school colleagues just suddenly go like this??
Even though I haven’t seen this gentleman since high school, he is one of those people I clearly remember because of his kindness, his warmth, and his civility to all. He went on to become a physical education teacher, and by all accounts was dearly loved by his students. No wonder.
None of these news has any direct impact on my life; however, they do serve as a reminder – our time here is not limitless. There is no time to waste. And it’s hard, at times, this life – it’s not always unicorns and rainbows. I am very happy with my current life, but there is pain, and there have been some very difficult times in the past few years. We ALL struggle with hardships at one time or another. But these hardships, these low points in life, don’t define us! It is precisely during these times that we must roll up our sleeves, take responsibility, and find the meaning in our lives.
In one sense, it all seems so fruitless; is the struggle all worth it? Are we to be nihilistic and discard all effort? No, we can’t, because as Viktor Frankl wrote in “Man’s Search for Meaning”:
A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how”.
Because today….today, we are alive!
And for that, we must be grateful, as it signifies that our journey is not yet over and there is still a chance to bring meaning to our life. So seize that bloody day and make it count!