Life, Loss, and Learning (Part 1)

River 8 BGAll of us experience loss. How we respond to loss can be as individual as fingerprints. For some people the loss of a loved one can lead to deep-set, long-lasting depression. Others in similar situations, celebrate the memories made and continue on. Most of us, however are somewhere between these extremes.

One of my first memories of this type of loss was when my much younger cousin lost her fight with Leukemia. She had not even reached school-age. At the time I questioned why GOD would take such a life. As I matured, in both age and spirituality, I came to accept that it is His will and not mine. I knew that she had endured two years of Chemo and Radiation with little hope of being cured. She once said “No more Ouchies”, referring to the treatments. Her parents and Doctors agreed that her treatments were not producing any measurable gains, they were, however decreasing her quality of life. The decision was made to discontinue treatments. In the little time she remained with us she was treated like royalty. She had us all wrapped around her little finger. Thirty years later I still think of her and wonder what she may have become.

Because of her brief presence here on Earth, I’m blessed with the memories of someone who never learned to hate, truthfully accepted each day was a blessing, and an infectious smile. Because of her, I have an inclination to treat females named “Amber” a little more affectionately than others. It may seem odd or unfair, but it is my unique way of dealing with loss.

I’ve been through many different losses since Amber’s passing. GOD’s grace has helped me find peace even in the darkest times. I’ve cried, prayed, rebelled, drank too much, went half crazy, but in due time I return to NORMAL.

Where I find PEACE

Wildlife 002

FGCU Campus waterway

Most of my life I’ve been here in SW Florida. I’ve never been too far from water. I grew up in a family of commercial fishermen. I was taught to respect our environment. Now, as a not so young man, I find that Nature nurtures. When I’ve had a bad day, or hell a bad week, I find Peace just observing GOD’s creation.

Something as simple as feeding the squirrels in my back yard can somehow ease my stress. Putting the canoe into the water just after daybreak, smelling the fresh air, feeling the light breeze,  being alone with my thoughts can temporarily transport me out of the everyday hustle and bustle. Picking a fresh tomato, cuke, or pepper from my small garden provides a satisfaction that couldn’t be matched by purchasing a bushel of each at the market.

There have been times I’ve cussed the rain, complained its too hot, bitched about mosquitoes, but I always return to Happiness when I accept that I’m just one small part of a very grand design. Without the rain, crops don’t grow. Without the sunshine, nothing on earth would survive. As for mosquitoes, they’re food for bats and other creatures.

I can’t paint one perfect picture of nature with my mere words. Many talented writers have come before me giving us wonderful works describing their experiences. Photojournalist have given us pictures of nature in almost every possible situation. For me, one minute spent in Nature, is worth a hundred seeing it through an others eyes.

Next time you’re feeling blue try visiting a local park or conservatory. I’m thankful for the protection my home provides from the elements, but those elements are what make Earth the only viable location for human life.

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

Procrastination

Procrastination has been my enemy for most of my life. Rather than doing, I wait. Why can’t I just make up my mind and take action?  I know I’m not alone in this battle. I believe many others are reluctant to commit themselves without some period of indecision.

What are we waiting for? What are depriving ourselves of by waiting? Is our lack of action hurting others? Are we being selfish? Can we stop?

Some decisions do need to be carefully considered before we commit. Some things cannot be undone. Mistakes will be made. Our choices affect not only ourselves, but often include those around us. Realizing which decisions to make quickly versus those we should weigh all options can be daunting.

Indecision is simply deciding to put off our decision.

Today I decided to accept the task of free-writing for 20 minutes. Even if no one else reads my post, I chose to write.

I believe we all have something to contribute. Waiting around for that perfect moment might mean never taking action. I believe if each of us take even the smallest of actions we can create major changes. Let’s feed the hungry by showing them how to grow their own food. Let’s reduce our dependance on fossil fuels by trying alternative sources like solar. Let’s show gratitude for what we have and quit complaining about what we lack.

Today, look in the mirror and ask “What am I waiting for?” Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised, today I choose to act.

Have a BLESSED day!