What would you do if you had just one more day?
Yesterday morning was one of those sweatshirt, leisure walk and coffee kind of days. As I made my way down to the river my mind started to wander in directions I didn’t anticipate. I first reflected on the incredible weekend I just had in Milwaukee for the LIFE Leadership convention. I am so blessed to be able to spend time with and learn from so many incredible men and women. The warmth in my heart spread throughout my body as I fought to stay warm on this brisk 38 degree morning.
I sat down on one of the park benches overlooking the water and gazed up at the beautiful colors of the changing tree leaves and looked around realizing just how quiet and empty this often busy area was today.
It made me think about life and how important it is to just slow down and appreciate all the little things that surround us. I think sometimes we forget that our lives are filled with so many intricate details that fill in the gaps of our happiness where most big things just can’t reach. I love to hear people tell me stories about the little things they enjoy.
For instance, I have so many great memories of when my grandpa was alive. One of the little things I loved to do was sit in the back patio with my grandpa on a summer day and look out into the yard. We would watch the squirrels chase each other up the trees and watch birds splash in the bird bath. Then we would play in the garden searching for the ripe vegetables that needed to be pulled off the vine. We didn’t have a lot of conversation but just enough to know that we were both there, that we loved each other and that we enjoyed our time together. Our evenings consisted of watching his favorite show, Wheel of Fortune while I would lay on the couch, head resting on his lap as he would rub my back. He was called Home in 2008 but I have nothing but wonderful memories of the time we shared together.
Another little thing I love to do is give and receive hugs. I have this friend who I believe gives the best hugs in the world. Have you ever met someone like that? (She knows who she is). Most hugs last less that two seconds and don’t carry a lot of meaning behind them but ours will carry on for 30 seconds or longer. For most people that might feel awkward, but for us we just love it!
Other little things like curling up with a good book next to a warm fire place, watching ducks float along the surface of the water, morning coffee and scripture while sitting on the rocks over-looking Lake Michigan, sitting in a boat with good company fishing for an experience (not just fish), afternoon lunches with grandma, warm apple cider, hammocks, Fall colors, making small talk with people, sunrises, sunsets, the sound of children’s laughter, having a deep and meaningful conversation with a friend, an afternoon nap, serving people, candles, singing out loud, laughing uncontrollably, hearing a good song for the first time, a good workout, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, a good hug, gazing into a babies eyes, hot chocolate, board games, the first snow fall, skipping rocks, and on and on and on.
I once heard this quote, “In an effort to reach the moon, we often fail to see the flowers that blossom at our feet.” Life is so much more than working, paying bills and climbing up the dead end ladder of success. Unfortunately most people I talk to say this is all their life is about. When I ask them what they enjoy to do outside of this reality most of them hesitate and have forgotten what makes them truly happy. We don’t need fancy vacations, nice cars, big houses and a lot of money to make us happy and yet, that’s what most people are chasing after. I dare you to ask anyone with material things if those items are their source of happiness. I guarantee 99.9% of all of them will tell you no. It’s about having choices, not being limited, trapped or controlled and living in such a way that is fulfilling and purposeful. And no matter what it is that you do or what direction you are going, it is important to make time for the little things that you love. For me, I love all these things listed above and while I certainly can’t fit in all of these things daily, I can make time for just a few. And I do – every day – no matter how busy the day is.
I found this video to show a pretty powerful illustration of how important it is for us to enjoy each day:
So I ask again, what would you do if you had just one more day?
This question invaded my mind every day over the last several months when I was battling life with a brain tumor – I was not guaranteed 28,835 days (none of us are). I was only guaranteed one day, the day that I woke up and realized I was still here. And some of those days I felt so bad that I would pray it wouldn’t be my last. I didn’t go sky diving or rocky mountain climbing, I just did all the little things I love to do – every day – no matter how busy the day was.
The video illustration was only an average, not a guarantee. God only knows when our last day will be and as far as I am concerned we all really only have one more day to live – and that’s today. We should all plan and prepare for the future but never forget to live in the present.
So what little things will you do today to fill the gaps of the happiness void in your life that so often gets neglected?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” Galatians 5:22