A Stories To Live By - by Ann Wells
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My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my bureau and lifted
out a tissue-wrapped package. "This," he said, "is not a slip. This
is lingerie." He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was
exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price
tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. "Jan bought
this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago.
She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well,
I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and put it
on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician.
His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed
the drawer shut and turned to me. "Don't ever save anything for a
special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed
when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow
an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to
California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives.
I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done.
I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that
they were special. I'm still thinking about his words, and they've
changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on
the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in
the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and
less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be
a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to recognize
these moments now and cherish them.
I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every
special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped,
the first camellia blossom.
I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is
if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of
groceries without wincing. I'm not saving my good perfume for special
parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses
that function as well as my party-going friends'.
"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary.
If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and
do it now. I'm not sure what my sister would have done had she known
that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted.
I think she would have called family members and a few close friends.
She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences
for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a
Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing-I'll never know.
It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I
knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good
Friends whom I was going to get in touch with-someday. Angry because
I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write-one of these
days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often
enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put
off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster
to our lives.
And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special.
Every day, every minute, every breath truly is...a gift from God.
If you've received this it is because someone cares for you and it
means there is probably at least someone for whom you care. If you're
too busy to take the few minutes that it would take right now to forward
this to ten people, would it be the first time you didn't do that
little thing that would make a difference in your relationships? I
can tell you it certainly won't be the last. I don't have to make
up silly stories about people being hit by buses or crushed by falling
disco balls for not sending this letter on. You've seen the result
of this neglect in your own relationships that you have allowed to
fade, dissolve, and fall into disrepair. Take this opportunity to
set a new trend. Take a few minutes to send this to a few people you
care about, just to let them know that you're thinking of them. It's
even better if they're not the people you already correspond with
every week. The more people that you send this to, the more blessed
you will feel. And the better you'll get in reaching out to those
you care about.
"You've got to dance like nobody's watching, and love like it's never
going to hurt."
"People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends
don't need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always
be there." - Unknown
"Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
'Pooh!' he whispered.
'Yes, Piglet?' 'Nothing,' said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw.
'I just wanted to be sure of you.'"
Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times)