Posts Tagged ‘Marcus Aurelius quote’

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. (Marcus Aurelius)

While my husband was in the hospital summer ended. I know Mother Nature didn’t make the transition intentionally. I love the pool and was looking forward to at least a few more days of sunscreen. But, the sudden change in weather highlighted the change in our everyday lives.

One Columbine plant blossoms. I take a picture of it. To savor.

No moment lasts forever.

I start an edit on a recent short story. My husband calls to me for help. His request is legitimate. When I come back I’ve lost my train of thought. It didn’t take off without me; it was never developed enough to make it to the track. And I stare at the page until I realize I haven’t washed the dishes yet.

This could be a long day. Or, it could be a chance to savor life as it is: the single Columbine plant in the front yard, calls from friends, three more get-well cards for Jay in the mail…an offer from my twelve-year-old granddaughter to help with heavier chores…

And I ease into the transition of caretaker. For me this job is temporary. For several of my friends it was a never-chosen, no-pay career. Two friends, Judy and Carol, are angels in human form. They never complain. I taste now what they experience daily. Somehow, it isn’t so bad. I am privileged to have this much time with my Jay. I have other friends who would give anything to have their husbands back in more than memory.

My husband does not take my presence for granted. I realize he never has.  

“Wow, that meal was delicious,” he says. No more than a few eggs and leftover French toast. And yet, this moment says healing has begun.

And I celebrate that healing.


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When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. (Marcus Aurelius)

I am treading water at the Y on an ordinary Sunday afternoon. I feel amazingly free in the deep end of the pool as I kick and move my arms through the tepid water. There are not many people here today, so I swim back and forth with no direction planned, no agenda, only the idea that this hour or so belongs to me, my husband Jay, and the generosity of the water.

A woman arrives. She leans against the wall. We smile at one another. Within minutes we are talking. She shows me an exercise that is good for back pain. She tucks water weights under her arms and then relaxes, torso straight, legs dangled in the water. She has had serious back surgery—and has been recovering for months.

However, I don’t realize how intense her situation has been until after we have been chatting for a while. She had pain all over her body. The cause had not been easily diagnosed. She had a congenital condition; she was missing a portion of bone, discs, in her back. That section has been rebuilt, a beyond-major task. Yet, pain has not left her life. It remains. She has not succumbed to relying on heavy medications. She keeps going without feeling sorry for herself.

When I think I have been sufficiently impressed she gives me more to absorb. Her grandson, Jonathan, was born with half of a heart. He was not expected to survive. He has had three cardiac surgeries and is now five-years-old. For him to have survived this long has been a miracle. With incredible calm she says that he will eventually need a heart transplant, but that his chances of survival will be greater when he is older.

“If he can make it, so can I,” she says.

I watch and listen so closely I wonder if I have blinked. My youngest granddaughter is scheduled for open heart surgery at the end of April. This woman’s words and attitude travel through the water and give me more than hope. They bring peace. Worry is counterproductive. Gratitude yields more gratitude tinged with joy.

“So, what is your name?” I ask.


I can remember that one.

She claims to be an ordinary person. In fact, in an e-mail I receive from her later, everyday-woman seems to be her theme. She has three children and five grandchildren. She emphasizes gratitude and offers prayers for folk who suffer greater losses.

We are all both ordinary and unique, flawed, gifted, and human. To think anyone is superior is delusional. I believe that how we approach each day makes the difference. And no one can judge whether an individual is great or not. Even if one moment brings a person success, the next stress offers the chance to grow or to break—as long as the life-game continues.

Night makes day brighter. Winter makes spring sweeter.

Here’s to the privilege of being alive! Cheers. I lift a glass of water, but the beverage isn’t what matters. It’s the attitude of peace that does.

Thanks, Sue! See you at the Y.

not giving up story not over

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