Posted in A Moment in My Life

“You Never Know”

A Moment in My Life – February 8, 2024

Jeannie Yee Davis

I exited 2023 and entered 2024, jumping for joy. Excited, enraptured with all the possibilities of 2024. Happy. No, not happy, but ecstatic. I had the best New Year’s Day ever. How could anything bad happen after that grand entrance? You never know. Anything can and will happen. You simply never know. That’s the plain truth.

Shortly into the new year, something didn’t feel right inside me. Something else didn’t feel right before I got to the bottom of that first ailment. And so it began, my trek down the path of fears and scares of possibilities, which I chose the path of denial. Not wise, but a human trait. Anyway, this is not about that. That will be a story for another day. I will say that eventually, I dealt with reality and am on the mend.

During my trials, a couple of friends passed away. The first friend, Mike, had battled with cancer for several years. It was still sad losing him, but it was inevitable that one day, he would be freed of his suffering. Soon after, I learned another friend, Don, lost his fight with pancreatic cancer. However, the most recent loss was unexpected. Margarita was fine just days before when I saw her last. She had a stroke while attending her granddaughter’s school event, and nothing could save her. Just weeks earlier, she lost her son suddenly. So painfully sad for her family. When I heard this shocking news, I was still in the middle of my challenges, fearing that maybe my time was near, so learning about Margarita’s passing hit too close to home. You never know when your time is up. Her passing spurred me to write this column.

Loss has a way of spiraling you into deep contemplation. Nothing is infinite. We are finite. As Franklin said, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes,” and other versions of this saying, like “The only thing you have to do is pay taxes and death, and anything else you think you have to do, you made up,” which is a nice segway that sums everything up here. 

We don’t know when it will be our time to line up at the gates of heaven. We don’t know if we get to do it all again tomorrow. Every morning, I say, “Thank You, Lord, for this new day,” because I get to wake up again. My dear friends Betty and Lenore and my cousin Tina went to bed one night and did not wake up the next day. Each day truly is a gift from God. I don’t take it lightly. For the longest time, I was afraid of death. I was so not ready and feared dying before I was ready, but when will I be ready? Especially being human, I tend to procrastinate doing things. I am a busy bee and consistently productive, but I do the priority things first, and I confess that I put things off when I don’t have to deal with them right away. I’m working on it, people. I give myself grace because I am human, too. However, regardless of when I get the call, I will never be ready at this rate. 

Losing someone is like a car battery jumpstart that jolts us out of surviving day-to-day like we’ve all the time in the world. We don’t. Our days are numbered. We aren’t privy to the end date. In a way, it’s good not knowing. Knowing may give us the sense of urgency we need to avoid squandering our time. Maybe? Maybe not. I don’t know. I know that loss makes me reevaluate what I want my life to be about and what legacy I want to leave behind. It makes me ponder whether I am living the way I like to live or not.

Too often, we aren’t living the life we dreamed of, but we wait until tomorrow or another day to do something about it. As we get older, the battery life runs lower. Do you want your battery drained before you fulfill your dream life? 

Living the life we dreamed of with as few regrets as possible is essential. This life is it. One life only. It’s not a dress rehearsal. We all have dreams, but few of us pursue them. We settle into a life for various reasons, and our dreams evaporate with time. The dream life is subjective and personal. The only thing in common is that it takes work and effort to make it possible. I recently read a devotional, “How to Dream Brave with God.” It taught me that our dreams are valid, meaningful, and blessed by God. After all, He gave us everything we need to live our dreams. He wants us to succeed and to dream big. Knowing this allowed me to dream bravely.

When we lose someone, we should try harder to live better because we can. They can’t anymore, but I know they would want us to live fully and boldly and make each day count. 

Sometimes, we get a second chance with nudges that sit us up straighter and make us rethink what we are doing and, if not, on the right path to set us on the right course. Or, in your heart, something isn’t right, and that’s your second chance to make changes and stop making excuses because tomorrow may be too late.

We never think about this until we get that nudge, and that’s when we ask ourselves what legacy we want to leave behind. We don’t want to be remembered as ones whose job was their priority, and we never had time for people. Or that all we did was have fun without considering paving a future for our loved ones or doing anything that mattered. We must have balance to provide for a future, spend time with people, do good work, live a good life, and care for what matters. Spend time at work to build a future and help those in need. Spend time at play for social and wellness. Spend time building relationships with people and God. 

Balance is the teeter to moderation, the totter. You must balance your efforts with things you enjoy each day and the work you must do to make everything possible. Moderation in everything will allow you to appreciate life and do important things: people, projects, social work, earning a living, realizing your dreams, and making time with God. Then, you’ll have few regrets and live a good life.

I don’t take anything for granted, especially as I get older. Nothing is ours forever—our five senses, mobility, faculties, and health we rely on without thought, like breathing, but will we always have them? Will we always have our independence? You never know. People and things come and go without warning. Our lives are like a drawing on a chalkboard, fragile, with one brush stroke, erased, a deleted scene in a movie. You never know. Take nothing for granted. You never know until it’s taken away from you. Then, all you have is regret that you didn’t appreciate what you had while you had it.   

The best caregivers I know are too busy caring for everybody else and seldom themselves. You do nobody any favors by neglecting yourself. You matter, too. Once you care for yourself, you’ll be a super person in caring for everybody else.

For those who are blessed with loved ones, never part with anger, hurtful words, or unresolved issues. Scripture says, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” because that might be the last words between you, which would be sad. The purpose of this piece is to encourage you to take this opportunity to reevaluate whether you are living a good and balanced life that is filled with love and gives you peace, knowing that when your time is up, you will have very few regrets because this is your one life and not a dress rehearsal. Will you wake up tomorrow and get to do it all again? You never know.

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