Celebrate Life!

Column: Something About Nothing

I met up with an old friend recently. It wasn’t a planned visit; it was a chance meeting. I had not seen this classmate of mine in 20 years. We had a great time catching up.

That happens to me quite a bit. You see the place I am able to catch up with family and friends that I have not seen in years is the funeral home. This one visit where I had a chance meeting with my friend was the third funeral home visit I had attended within two weeks.

On the way out of the funeral home we met up with more relatives that we absolutely enjoy, but we never see. It was a good catch up conversation.

I pondered the events later on in the evening, and it made me sad that the only time we take time to reconnect with people is when someone has died. Not only do we reconnect with old friends at funeral visitations, sometimes we haven’t seen the person who has died in months or years. We have the time to attend their funeral, but we didn’t have the time to visit them when they are alive.

At least that is what seems to happen in my life. Not only that, but when we attend a funeral we celebrate someone’s life. We share stories and say wonderful things about the person who has died. I have always wondered why we don’t take the time to celebrate someone’s life while they are still alive.

I have felt that birthdays are a good day to celebrate someone’s life, but do we do that? Some people do throw big parties for a birthday. That is the way it should be, rather than waiting until someone is dead to celebrate their life. People need to know how much they have meant to us. People need to know how they have changed our lives. People need to know how much we love and care for them while they are alive.

Many people don’t want to celebrate their birthdays. It is just another day in their lives. They don’t want to be reminded of how old they are getting. Would they change their mind if their birthday was a day of celebration? Maybe they don’t like birthdays because it is hard to not be remembered on your birthday.

Families do not always take the time to remember each others birthday either. Remember celebrating a birthday doesn’t have to mean elaborate presents.  A birthday is a day to make someone feel special on their special day.

This past year I have met some of the same people numerous times at the funerals I have attended. The standing joke is, “We have to quit meeting like this.” We do have to quit meeting like that. In our busyness we take time for many things that are unimportant and don’t leave time for those events or meetings that will uplift us and replenish and enhance our lives.

I wish I could tell you that because I realize this I will change the way I conduct my life. I wish I could tell you that I will remember this and make sure I take the time for those important people that are from my past and the future. I know that it might be what I plan to do, but when I get busy again I will forget and continue on. I will meet people at funerals and continue to say, “We have to quit meeting like this.” It seems to be human nature.

People have bucket lists. I don’t have a bucket list yet of places to go and things to do. But I have started a list of those people that I want to take the time to visit or at least be in contact with by mail or on Facebook. I have accomplished some of that this year.

I have met with cousins and old friends that I haven’t seen for a long time. I hope to keep up those contacts. My list is long so hopefully in the year and years to come I can connect so that I don’t always have to say “We have to quit meeting like this.”

Perhaps those connections are only for an hour but during that hour and during that connection my friends and family can feel how much I care for them.

My advice to you is to don’t do as I do, do as I say. If you possibly can find the time to celebrate someone’s life while they are alive, do it. Help someone you care about feel loved.

Oprah has a quote. Her quote is, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” I would like to change the quote to say, “The more you praise and celebrate someone else’s life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

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