Late last week I went on Facebook and the first post I read was the announcement that a 9 year old girl from my area had died. She had been fighting cancer for the past 5 years and the post declared her "battle was over". I had seen small yard signs with words of encouragement for the little girl placed all around town in front of homes and businesses. I'd seen those signs since I moved here a nearly a year ago, but I wasn't sure who they were for. The truth is that I assumed they were for an adult and I never once thought they were to encourage a child. Just a few days ago I noticed that while some signs were no longer in yards, others were still in place. Maybe they hadn't heard the heartbreaking news. Or maybe it's just too painful to accept.
When I read that Facebook post I found myself momentarily overwhelmed with grief. I kept thinking she was just a little girl. I remarked to my husband that she hadn't even reached double digits. Today I find myself impacted by this child's life and death in unexpected ways. It prodded me to choose a weekly inspirational quote for my website that was not what I had originally planned. The quote's author is unknown but I'm taking the words to heart as if they are my own: Do not regret growing older. It's a privilege denied to many.
Every day that I am alive is another day that I grow older and every day that I grow older is a privilege. Life offers us no guarantees, and neither does death. As a Humanist I am focused on this one life that I am privileged to experience, and since turning fifty a couple of years ago I've been keenly aware of just how precious and fleeting this one life is. I've already reached double digits and the half century mark! Who knows, maybe I'll reach triple digits. But the reality is that no matter who we are, where we come from, and what we have, no one knows just how long the journey and adventure of life will last. Each of us will face battles and we won't always emerge the victor. Regardless of battles and losses, failure and pain, I want to celebrate as best I can each and every day that I have. From the stories I've been reading about the little girl who lived just a few miles away, she was able to touch many lives with her own as she lived as fully as possible and celebrated the joy of life.
Every day that I am privileged to grow older is a day of birth and yes, every day is another birthday! I don't know how many more I'll have but I plan to appreciate every one of them as I appreciate the beautiful little girl who celebrated just 9 years' worth.
Happy birthday to you, dear readers!
I had hoped to post once a week, and did for a short time. Unfortunately, my doctorate research and other obligations have taken priority over the blog. BUT, I will return soon! Some postings may be articles I've written for publication, messages I've delivered in congregational settings, or excerpts from papers written in my doctoral classes.