Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What If You Had Never Been Born?

I suppose most of you have seen the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". It is basically the story of a man contemplating suicide but he is stopped at the last minute by an angel who shows him what life would have been like if he had never been born. Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you had never been born? Do you ever wonder if you have made a difference in the lives of others? Has anyone made a difference in your life? Is there a family member, a teacher, a friend, or a co-worker that has made a difference in your life? If so, have you told them? We all live our lives and go through our days not always aware of how we touch and affect others. Most of the time we never become aware of it. Once I tried to imagine my own funeral. Now, I am not obsessed with death. I want to live as long as I can live well. However, in this imaginary scenario, I wondered who would attend my funeral. Most of us would expect our families but even that is not a guaranteed audience. In today's world, many family members are estranged from one another. I wonder who would take the time to attend? What would they be talking about at the funeral home? Who would be most upset? What would they miss the most about me? What stories would they tell? How would I be remembered? Would there be a lot of laughter? Would the funeral directors have to move the walls to make the room bigger for the overflow crowd? How many people would attend because somewhere, sometime I touched their life in a positive way? This may seem like an extreme way to contemplate how one has lived but it makes a powerful point. We should all try to live so that every encounter that another person has with us is a positive experience. We should be kind, compassionate, encouraging, consoling, and, when necessary, honest. I often think of all the people who have been these things to me. Most of us will not change history in big ways but we all change the history of others in many, many small ways. None of our lives are insignificant.

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