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A close friend of mine died suddenly this week. It was a very untimely death and came as a great shock to all her knew her. She was in her 50’s and in great physical condition, but she drowned at the beach while on Spring break with her children. Absolutely heartbreaking.
As we approach the day of her funeral, it has become very evident to me that it’s the “mother” who truly holds the family together. Without Mom, everyone and everything seems out of place and awkward. The warmth that I once felt in her home is gone, and her family is broken and grieving.
Times like this push me to question and re-examine my life and priorities. My friend and I were just a couple of years apart, with many of our children being about the same age. What if it had been me? How would I leave things if tomorrow were MY day to leave this earth?
Not one of us knows the day of our departing, however, we do know that our day will come.
Are we living the life we want to live?
I think most of us would answer “yes” and “no”. Some parts of our lives are better than other parts.
The “Serenity Prayer” reminds us that we don’t have much control over things in this life. I have reflected on this prayer many times this week.
So what CAN we control?
We all need to make a living at something, in order to provide for ourselves and our families. That’s just a fact of life, can’t be controlled.
All of us are born with a “genetic hand” so to speak, with a state of health that we inherit from our parents. We can’t control that either.
Where we were born is not something we are able to choose. How much money we were raised with isn’t up to us.
However, there is much that we can control!
We choose our friends and our spouse.
We choose how many children we have.
We choose where we will live.
We choose how much schooling we receive.
We choose what we’ll do for a living.
We also choose our lifestyle. Some of us will choose to live in the city. Others of us will live in the suburbs.
Finally, there are those of us who will choose to live away from the noise and busyness, and opt for a more quiet and sustainable lifestyle.
There are no rights or wrongs in the lifestyle we decide to live. But the fact remains that we choose it.
We may live one lifestyle right now, while we work and dream towards another. What do you dream about? What are you working towards?
Yes, we should plan, save and make good decisions…but some of us wait too long to implement our dreams.
If you knew that you would pass away next month, what would you do differently? Would your priorities or choices change? Would you sell it all and chase that dream?
But if I knew I would pass away next month, or next week, would I continue with what I’m doing?
Would I continue to plant the summer garden?
Would I continue to paint bee hives?
Would I still hatch chicks?
Would I cancel everything and spend every last second with those I love?
I’m not sure how to answer these questions, quite frankly. I find no solace in sitting around waiting to die. I probably would paint those hives and plant that garden, but with a loved one by my side. I would let most of the chores and projects go, but still look for ways to sow life on this property. Leaving a legacy of love for family, as well as for the land and the life it produces is my goal.
That said, as I re-examine my lifestyle and current priorities, I feel at peace. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life, financial and personal. It’s been a long road to this farm.
Ten years ago, we made the leap of faith and moved to the country to fulfill this homestead dream. With little more to go on other than “book sense”, we went for it. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and all the ways that I’ve grown and learned.
My children have learned incredible “life lessons” on this 10 acres. Playing in creeks and climbing trees fill their childhood memories. Learning how to feed baby goats by hand and how to grow food are skills they possess.
My friend died in the ocean she loved, spending time with her family. While her lifestyle was different than mine, she was living the way she wanted to. That’s my point.
Are you living life on your terms? What is within your ability to change? What would you need to do to get there?
Don’t wait too long. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
If I knew the date of my death, I think I would spend it right here, listening to the peepers by the pond and roasting marshmallows by the fire, with everyone that I love.