I don’t know how old I will live to be. My life came very close to being cut short four years ago last month. The odds of me living through my circumstances at that time were not that great. But I am still here and God has more for me to do.
Regardless of anything that may have happened to me in the past or that could happen to me in the future, I have today and I have the minutes I am writing right now. I can’t change one minute that has happened in my past nor can I live right now a single minute somewhere in my future.
I doubt I will make it to 90 years of age, but God knows already how many breaths I have left, and that is good enough for me. So let me get on with my message to you about two ladies, one who passed the 90 year old mark and another who shared a powerful message from her life journey. Let me start with the first lady and you will understand why I am sharing her story told by a nursing home staff member.
“This 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home yesterday. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.
“After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that have been hung on her window. ‘I love it,’ she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.
“‘Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room...just wait.’”
“‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ she replied. ‘Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to like it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice.
“I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes are open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away just for this time in my life.’
“She went on to explain, ‘Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories. Thank you for your part in filling my memory bank,’ she said to me. ‘I am still depositing.’”
“And, with a smile she said: ‘Remember the five simple rules to be happy: Free your heart from hatred, free your mind from worries, live simply, give more, expect less and enjoy every moment.’”
I hope I don’t have to make it to 92 to understand the wisdom this lady shared. Countless other elderly nursing home residents had preceded her to see their new home for the first time at the home and very few of them had the joy this lady carried about a place she had never seen before. The elderly lady modeled joy for her unknown future, making up her mind to celebrate the circumstances she was about to experience.
Joy for the future is one thing we all need to work on. Baggage from our past is another.
I think we all carry a lot of baggage with us. If it motivates us to a fuller life in the present, it may not be baggage, but a positive motivator. In most cases the baggage we carry is just that, baggage. It robs us of the joy of life right now. Much of the challenge of life I feel is important is freeing ourselves of our baggage and being able to rise above it.
Former child actress and U.S. diplomat Shirley Temple Black learned the truth about living for today. She had a long and happy marriage to her husband Charles for 54 years before he passed.
When someone asked her the key to a successful marriage, she told a story about her husband and his mother. When Charles was a boy, he approached his mother and asked her, “What was the happiest moment of your life?” His mother surprised him by answering, “This moment, right now.”
Puzzled, Charles then asked, “But what about all the other happy moments in your life? What about when you were married? “’What about the day I was born?” She laughed and said, “my happiest moment then was then. My happiest moment now is now. You can only really live in the moment you are in. So to me that is always the happiest moment”.
Charles’ mothers words of wisdom lead us to the importance of “right now.” How you experience the current moment of your life is up to you. Will you live this moment to the fullest or let it be taken from you because of your past or because of the anxiousness of your future?
What do you need to be doing to live this very minute? Are you pleased with your new room at the nursing home you have not yet seen? Are you upset with something in your past?
A vast majority of our life experience is what happens in our head in the six inches between our two ears. Terrible things may have happened to you in the past. Great things may not happen to you in the future. Regardless of these bookends on your life, what you have right now is right now.
My challenge to you is to find joy in the happiest moment of your life in this moment right now. Shed whatever has happened to you in the past. Remove anxiousness from you of what may happen in the future.
Life is 10% what happens and 90% how we choose to respond. Line up any random ten people and put them in the same circumstances and watch how each of the ten handle it differently.
How do you handle your world around you? Whether you are happy with what you have or unhappy with what you don’t have, you still have the same things.
Celebrate the next minute of your life because it is worth celebrating and it will be in your rear view mirror before you know it. Choose to celebrate the following minute as you live it and then keep living each minute the best you are able.
You can only live in this moment of your life, so make this moment the happiest moment of your life.
Just an important thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202-0850.
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