As a youngster I can remember wondering, never asking, but wondering why there was not more when my mom would make dinner or cupcakes or the like. I do not believe I was raised to be a selfish child, or adult, and my parents never intended to spoil me, but I was very spoiled indeed. You see I had parents, at home, who tried to teach me right from wrong and tried to instill within me a sense of dignity, decency and integrity.
I knew that things were tight at home, but my parents never let me know how tight. My questioning for more, started out as a selfish desire for cupcakes, or cheesecake, or cookies. Today, I look at my life, the lives of my adult children and my wife, and I realize that as parents we, she and I, did ok. Our children did not grow up to be rocket scientists (yet) and may not find the cure to cancer or aids, but they did grow up. They have each learned a sense of dignity, decency and integrity. They are each learning that sense, like courtesy, is no longer common but it is worth the effort to develop and to maintain in their lives.
My mother passes away in 2002, and is greatly missed, mostly when I am trying to be comforting to my children or when I am feeling overwhelmed in life. But her sense of humor and strong sense of self stay with me even today and more importantly I can hear her speaking as my children tell me about their lives or ambitions or struggles her sense of humor and sense of dignity remain strong.
My father is well and has remarried. He and his wife Melba are happy together and even though he and I have let life slip between us, he is still the guiding force through which I live much of my life. His sense of honor, sense of ethics, sense of duty, sense of commitment and sense of self have enabled me to develop into the man that writes this blog.
Still a man gets up in the morning, exercises, prays, eats and goes to work. His day filled with solving problems for people who have generally not taken the time to develop the senses have been meticulously mentioned above, he concludes his day with prayer, exercise and a brief conversation with his wife and or children and retires with a good book and hopefully a game of chess before resting for the night. Yet with all of this activity, if he is not careful, he can still be left feeling empty and alone wondering in his small childish inner voice, “isn’t there more?”.
Literally thousands of books have been written on this subject, and depending upon the belief system one has developed there are as many answers to the same question. But when you boil it all down, I have come to the basic understanding that life is not about activity, or routine (although without either or both of these we would live a mundane existence). Life is about learning, growing, and appreciating all of the small things that come our way. It is appreciation that adds value (no pun intended… ok a little pun was intended). When we develop a true sense of thankfulness and appreciation we can see ourselves in a more realistic fashion and gain an understanding that our very existence is no more or less important than anyone else. At this point when we have or lose something we should take time to truly appreciate both the gain and the loss, because it is very process that helps us to become better people.
As my father always quoted to me, “pain makes man think, thought makes man wise, wisdom makes life endurable”. Although this statement could be examined and further analyzed to understand that it is not actually the thoughts but the process that is important, I will leave this for another time.
For those of you who made it through this post, I thank you. Remember life is what you make it, so if yours sucks, go make it something else.
See you around the water cooler!