As this is being posted to the website, someone very close to me is undergoing brain surgery. She has an aggressive tumor, which as far as doctors can tell, started growing just six weeks ago.
A month and a half ago she was healthy, gregarious, and planning a baby shower for me; now she’s in Houston at the MD Anderson Cancer Treatment Center fighting for her life.
I hate this tumor, and I hate all of the fear it has caused.
I’m sharing this personal story with you for two reasons. First, as a reminder that life is short, even if you live to be 100. We are not immortals. Each moment is a gift, and you have a choice of how you spend that time. You can let it idly pass you by, being unaware of its rich possibilities and cluttering your days with unimportant stuff. Or, you can carpe vitam — seize life — and take advantage of all the valuable experiences this world has to offer.
Second, I’m sharing this story with you as a reminder that you never know what others are dealing with when you encounter them. The person who cut you off in traffic may be rushing to the hospital. The cell phone that rings during a movie may be an emergency. The person who didn’t return your e-mail may have more important matters in front of him. None of us can read minds or know what is going on in everyone’s life — cut people slack, and hopefully they’ll do the same when you need that favor.
Stop cluttering up your life with things that don’t matter to you. Take responsibility for your life and what you have chosen to include in it. Stop cluttering up your time assuming the worst in other people. And, treat everyone you encounter as if you know someone they love is undergoing brain surgery — unfortunately, it might be true.