Friday, March 26, 2010

One minute, everything's fine--the next, everything's changed

I know how unpredictable life is, but if you're like me, sometimes you forget.

One minute, you're griping about some little problem. Maybe the guy in front of you drives too slow. You fume. You swear. You may even give him the finger and hope he's not carrying a gun. You think people are idiots, everything's wrong, and it sucks to be you.

Then, something serious happens. You find out a loved one has cancer. Or the life of one of your best friend's is interrupted by tragedy. Suddenly, getting stuck in traffic behind a slow driver doesn't seem like such a big deal.

I guess if we were always conscious of time's pendulum tick-tocking our happiness, our very lives away, we wouldn't be able to function. Awareness like that would be paralyzing. But every so often, something shakes us awake and reminds us there are worse things than having a waiter get our order wrong or waiting in line behind someone who's counting out exact change or constantly fighting those stubborn five (OK, maybe ten, if you're me) extra pounds.

If I've learned anything from the past three days, it's how valuable friends are, how hopeless you feel when someone you love is hurting, how mysterious healing is, how powerful prayer can be and how important it is to be reminded that life can, and does, change in a heartbeat.

When I reread what I've written, the idea sounds so basic, so pedestrian, like reiterating something everyone knows.

But being shaken awake isn't like that at all. It's humbling. It's frightening. It's a shocking reminder not to take anything, any moment or anyone for granted.

So take care of your kind, caring, funny, smart, thoughtful, entertaining, delightful-to-be with souls, Everybody. The world needs every last one of you.

Written in memory of Bill Hunt, who passed away yesterday, March 26, 2010. With sympathy and caring to the Hunt family and to Bill's many friends.


  1. When my mom died of cancer last year it was a real wake up call for me. Now I probably do too much to make up for lost time - but I am determined to stop being afraid of so many things, to try lots of new things, to know you are never too old to go back to school, to be more forgiving. Thanks for writing this.

  2. Yes, those strange symptoms appear. Small red dots at the tips of her fingers. A trip to the doctor. Suddently, my sister-in-law finds out that she has a short time to live if she does not have treatment. One more test will tell if she has much of a chance even with the treatment. This happened about 2 months ago, and after painful chemotherapy rounds, she is in remission. We pray for continued remission and eventual good health. And, we're constantly (and quietly) on edge, wondering if something not seen could still be going on inside. She still faces months of chemotherapy, just to be sure. She had been just fine. No other symptoms, no fatigue, nothing. Then, the most shocking 2 months of her life. It feels so real to say that life is precarious and short, and, yet, we have heard that statement many times. It sure rings true now. Your blog does, too. You're so right when you say that we shouldn't take life and others for granted.

  3. Claudia, I'm sorry to hear about your mom. I lost my mom to cancer when I was 26. My heart goes out to you. You never outgrow needing a mom. At least, I didn't.

    Kathy, So sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. I hope everything goes well for her.

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Ladies. Be well!

  4. I remember him, but I never met him. You've made a nice tribute here, Renee.

  5. Thanks, Trish and Toon.

    Russ, you'd have liked him. He was funny--could be sweet and then, out of nowhere, would surprise you with Dorothy Parker-esque observation. A personality combo many of my most favorite people share.

  6. You rock Renee! Just got to read this and it made my day! Life is so crazy and sometimes we forget to slow down and remember the important things and people. Bill was an amazing person who will be thought of everyday!