Although I have not been a fan of bumper stickers through the years, there is a wonderful bumper sticker that challenges us to “Practice random acts of kindness.”
This sticker serves to remind me that it is not the big, but the small gifts of love that count the most. Gifts like sending a note to a friend, making a telephone call to a sick neighbor, repairing a broken relationship, cleaning a home for a sick friend, complimenting a stranger on her pretty smile, fixing a toy for a child, repairing a sink for a widow, giving a loved one a kiss, praying for someone in crisis.
Such actions will probably not get your picture in the newspaper or an appearance on the evening news, but you can go to sleep knowing you have lived today to its fullest.
We might as well choose to live each day giving random gifts of love and kindness because in reality all we have is the journey of today. This reality is painfully illustrated in Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman” as the major character, Willie, spends a lifetime dreaming of one day making it big. His life ends in total disillusionment when he realizes he has dreamed his life away and life has passed him by and he has accomplished almost nothing.
We are again reminded of the importance of living each day in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” when the main character of the play, Emily, discovers too late the singular joy of living day to day. After her death, Emily is allowed to watch herself relive one day of her life. She is warned that she will not enjoy what she experiences. Nevertheless, she embraces the opportunity and chooses to relive her twelfth birthday.
However, seeing the way her family members take each other for granted and live with so little passion is so painful for her that she finally pleads to be delivered from it all. Looking back on her family and her life one last time, Emily cries out, “Good-bye, good-bye, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners ... Mama and Papa. Good-bye two clocks ticking ... and Mama’s sunflowers; and food and coffee; and even ironed dresses and hot baths ... and sleeping and waking up. Oh, Earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.” She stops, hesitates, and then, with tears in her eyes, asks the audience, “Do any human beings realize life while they live it? — every minute?”
When I think of great living, I don’t think of the future, but of the present. If we live, truly live in the present the big picture of life tends to take care of itself because we find a meaningful, purposeful, joyful way to live each day. This is why people who enjoy abundant living, genuine happiness, meaning and purpose, have found a way to focus on living each day to the fullest.
Be thankful for today. Live today seriously. Live today intensely. Live this day with passion. Live today fully. Refuse to let the moments slip by but rather truly live every minute of the life you are given knowing that life only happens moment by moment.