Let’s use the good dishes!
by Trudy Boyle
A fascinating thing about humans is that we all agree that our final destination is death. No one will contradict this. We just can’t grasp the truth that it may happen to us today. That thought is rather incomprehensible, if not plain ludicrous, for most of us.
I am glad that I get it, even though I don’t really get it. But it does remind me of special occasions, last words, and not putting our life on hold.
What if you considered today and every day to be a special occasion?
Truth is, we woke up, so that already makes this day special. And since today is special how will we treat it? Maybe we make a special meal and serve it with a candle, music, and a few flowers from the garden. Maybe we call a friend we haven’t talked to in a while, and just enquire about them. Maybe you wear your favorite shirt just because. You will have hundreds of ideas.
How many of you like me have untouched beautiful journals sitting safely in a drawer? My friend Patricia insists that the only thing to do with a special beautiful journal is USE it. “Write your to do lists; recipes; doodles; anything at all but use it,” she says.
What about being generous with your words?
Not last words as in a proclamation of wisdom. No. No. Rather I’m speaking about my last words to whoever gets to hear them: the coffee barista, the janitor at my grandkids school, the Shaw repair person who came back to fix a problem, the cashier or the cleaning people or the bank manager or my spouse or a friend. If I am lucky, someone will hear my last words, and I just want them to be kind.
This understanding helps me, at least some of the time, to be aware that it isn’t always best to let the first thing that comes to mind, leave my lips. Words can be used as gifts and words can be used as weapons. We witness both, every single day.
Just like the good dishes rarely used, we often save our best words for a funeral. Why not jump in today and tell those people in your life what you love and admire about them, while you still can, and while they are still around to hear your words.
We all need encouraging words from time to time. Let’s be generous and send out our word gifts to those we love and admire. The great thing about word gifts is that we never run out. We can afford to be generous.
And not putting your life on hold?
When you have things you want to do, have fun doing, including learning something . . . jump right in and do it. We have restrictions due to Covid but working with that understanding, don’t just wait to do some of the things you can do and want to do. You too are unique in all the world. Use your gifts. Have fun. Make bad music. Do bad art. Be bold and vulnerable at the same time. Contribute to making the lives of others joyful and meaningful. Create wonderful memories.
Give up on saving the best you have to offer, for some imagined special time.
The joy of living is knowing how precious and tenuous it really is to be part of the full human experience. And what an amazing gift we have been given to fully participate in a plethora of capacities. Let’s do what we can do, while we are able.
Trudy Boyle is coordinator for the Living Fully with Illness program at the ToDo Institute and a frequent contributor to Thirty Thousand Days. She brings 29 years of experience teaching the principles of Japanese Psychology, and for the past 13 years she has focused entirely on Living Fully with Illness. Trudy is the fo......