Today is my birthday. It is also two days after Thanksgiving, and fifteen years and eleven days since I suffered a heart attack. If all that doesn’t call for a moment of reflection, I don’t know what will.

So, I’m thankful to be alive! Trite, huh? But I want you to think beyond triteness. Think about really being alive. For me I began this refelction eleven days ago; November 15th, the 15th anniversary of the heart attack. I began thinking of all the things I would have missed had I not survived. I would never have known my three lovely granddaughters. I would never have started the Senior Class Improv Company. I would never have worked at the University of Kansas Public Management Center or the University of Kansas Medical Center, and never have met all the wonderful students I had there.

 Of course not all of the memories are happy. There have been illnesses, and heartbreak, and loss  too. But, even the pain is evidence of life — of self awareness, and it is a precious gift.

I met my Masters of Public Health Class at the University of Kansas Medical Center on November 15th and took a moment to share my thoughts about the value of life with them. The next day I received this email from a student:  “I wanted to thank you for bringing a personal touch to the last class session by sharing your wisdom regarding the value of life after experiencing a near fatal heart attack.  To me, that information is more valuable than the didactic class content.” Wow! Affirming huh?

All this started me thinking about Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. Upon returning from the dead to experience just on more day Emily says: “I can’t! I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another.” Later she asks” “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? — every, every minute?” Upon returning to the dead Emily says: “That’s all human beings are! Just blind people.”

So here is my birthday wish for everyone who runs across this blog: Slow down. Look at people. Try your best to realize life while you live it — every every minute.


1 Comment

  1. Been there, done that (celebrated my 16th ‘anniversary’ October 15th), and fully appreciate what you’ve said…

    …which I (being stingy with words) generally reduce to this:

    Regardless of where it goes,
    ’tis best to follow your nose.
    ‘Cause if you stay behind,
    there’s little new to find,
    or see, or think, or know.


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