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Life In Perspective

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Sometimes life is bigger than embiggened.

I originally wrote a thousand words trying to bring up spirits around here and rally the troops. After two edits and over two hours of non-stop writing I decided this was more powerful. I found this site while trying to find inspiration for what I wrote. There are 101 on these quotes/short stories. If you feel so inclined to read the rest.

Today, my mom is a healthy 54 year old who successfully owns and operates a popular bakery downtown – a goal she had all her life. 15 years ago she was diagnosed with cancer. In the face of death, she quit her store clerk job, opened the bakery, started chemo therapy, and succeeded on all fronts.

Today, after the funeral, I went back to my parent’s empty house – the house I grew up in. As I gazed around in awe of all the great memories we made in it, I noticed an old photo of my parent’s in their 20’s sitting on the coffee table. In my father’s handwriting, across the back was written, "In this moment, we were infinite."

Today, as my father, three brothers, and two sisters stood around my mother’s hospital bed, my mother uttered her last coherent words before she died. She simply said, "I feel so loved right now. We should have gotten together like this more often."

Today, I pulled into a small gas station in the middle of the desert in New Mexico and realized I had left my wallet at my girlfriends house 5 hours away. I had no money and barely enough gas to make it another mile down the road. The only other person that stopped for gas was a burly looking trucker. I was a bit reluctant, but I asked him for some spare change for gas. Instead he filled my tank and said, "Someone did this for me a few years ago."

Today, while I was driving my grandfather to his doctor’s appointment, I complained about hitting 2 red lights in a row. My grandfather chuckled and said, "You always complain about the red lights, but you never celebrate the green ones."

Today, I was the maid of honor in her wedding. Four years ago she was declared cancer free. Eight years ago, during our senior year of college, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and told she had eighteen months to live.

Today, my close friend died unexpectedly in a car accident. A cab driver saw me crying outside the hospital all alone at 3AM. He stopped, helped me into the cab, drove me to my house 30 miles away and refused to let me pay him.

Today, I kissed my dad on the forehead as he passed away in a small hospital bed. About 5 seconds after he passed, I realized it was the first time I had given him a kiss since I was a little boy.

Today, when I witnessed a 27-year-old breast cancer patient laughing hysterically at her 2-year-old daughter’s antics, I suddenly realized that I need to stop complaining about my life and start celebrating it again.

Today, I was traveling in Kenya and I met a refugee from Zimbabwe. He said he hadn’t eaten anything in over 3 days and looked extremely skinny and unhealthy. Then my friend offered him the rest of the sandwich he was eating. The first thing the man said was, "We can share it."

Today, a boy in a wheelchair saw me desperately struggling on crutches with my broken leg and offered to carry my backpack and books for me. He helped me all the way across campus to my class and as he was leaving he said, "I hope you feel better soon."

Today, I lost my mom to cancer. My whole life I wanted to build an empire of wealth. And now that I’m relatively wealthy, all I want is my mom back.

Today, after telling my grandmother that I didn’t want to risk making such a huge mistake, she looked at me and said, "Looking back on it all, there are so many mistakes I wish I had had the courage to make when I was your age."

Today, a 12 year old boy died in a house fire near my neighborhood. After he pulled his mom to safety, he ran back into the burning house for his 5-month-old baby sister.

Today, I was in line at the store behind a man holding a dozen roses. When he got up to the cashier’s counter, he realized that the cashier looked sad. The man smiled and said, "I’m buying 11 of these roses for my wife." And then he handed the cashier the 12th rose. She smiled from ear to ear.

Today, I asked my 6 year old son what he wants to be when he grows up. He said, "Mommy, all I want to be is happy."

Today, we were supposed to meet in the park. But instead I met her in the hospital’s intensive care unit. And as I sat beside her bed and staring at her unconscious body hooked up to all the breathing equipment, I reached into my pocket, pulled out the diamond engagement ring, and cried. I’m still here waiting and hoping.

Today, after spending the last year working 60 hours a week in an attempt to give my family a more comfortable life, I forgot about my son’s 14th birthday. My son told me what the family really needs is more of me at home.

Today, my sister told me a student of hers turned eight years old on Friday. When I realized he was born on September 11, 2001, I said, "How horrible for his family." My sister explained that his grandfather worked at the Pentagon and skipped work that day upon learning his daughter was in labor.

Today, I met an elderly man at a bar in Miami. When I asked him if he was vacationing, he handed me a photo from his wallet and said, "Today would be our 50th anniversary. And although she’s been gone 10 years now, this bar still reminds me of her smile - when we shared our first laugh here so many moons ago."

Today, my father told me, "Just go for it and give it a try! You don’t have to be a professional to build a successful product. Amateurs started Google and Apple. Professionals built the Titanic."

Today, my dad told me and my little sister that we might lose our house. I was sad, angry, worried and stressed. My 14 yr old sister asked me what’s wrong. When I told her, she said, "It’s just a house. I don’t care where we live, as long as we’re together."

Today, I stopped to chat with the office janitor like I do every Monday morning on my way into work. And at the end of our conversation he grinned and said, "You know, you’re the only one who ever stops to talk to me around here, and you’re the President and CEO."

Today, exactly twenty years ago to the hour, I risked my life to save a woman who was drowning in the rapids of the Colorado River. And that’s how I met my wife - the love of my life.

Today I found out that my high school friend I’d been meaning to get in touch with for the last year died last week.

Today, I asked my mentor – a very successful business man in his 70’s – what his top 3 tips are for success. He smiled and said, "Read something no one else is reading, think something no one else is thinking, and do something no one else is doing."

Today, as my grandfather (a military doctor, war hero, and successful business owner) rested in his hospice bed, I asked him what his greatest life accomplishment was. He turned around, grabbed my grandmother’s hand, looked her in the eyes, and said, "Growing old with you."

Today, I was jogging in Central Park when this lady started screaming for help. Her husband was having a heart attack. I ran over and checked his pulse. He didn’t have one. I gave him CPR and got his heart beating before the paramedics arrived. I’ve done some bad things in my life, but today I saved a life.

Today, I met a powerful businessman who is worth 100 million dollars. In conversation he told me he regretted never making it to his son’s hockey games or his daughter’s dance recitals. It made me smile because my dad is probably only worth as much as this man’s last paycheck, but he made it to everything.

Today, I have two twin boys in my kindergarten class. I have heard from other parents that they come from a very broken home in which their mother is in and out of rehab and their father is always away on business. But their 16 year old sister never fails to get them to school on time or pack them a healthy bagged lunch with a smiley face on it.

Today, I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research paper I’m working on for my Psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, "Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile."

Go enjoy the sun and life this weekend. Unplug.