After the flurry of birthdays and anniversary that run intensely from August to the end of October for our family each year, my soul always deeply reflects on the gift that life brings to all. When I say life I mean both the life that is lived here and now and the life that is to come. Whatever that looks like. Tomorrow. Next Week. Next Month. Next Year.
Moments matter. Every single moment matters. The call is to not miss it! Oh how so often do I – do we – miss it!
This morning I was blessed to share in conversation with a young adult that is so wise, discerning, and ever thoughtful. As we shared our stories of life I was so thankful for the gift of just that – a shared story. The world – education – travel – relationships – struggles – hopes – all of part of our shared story on this planet. Tears of my own struggles spilled out for a few moments as I reflected on the inner parts of my own soul in this hot bed of a mess world.
And then I read of the story of Teddy, a young boy who invited 30 kids to join in a birthday party and how not one – not even one – showed up to celebrate with him. Wow just wow! In a world that suffers from a culture of loneliness, isolation, and despair, even our youngest children are suffering the effects of such a life. Come on world we got one job – just one job – love love love – and we do that most by showing up for one another! This is getting me so wound up I want to become a birthday party crasher! Let me know and I will come eat cake with you! To reflect on the story the link is copied here: https://nypost.com/2018/10/23/kindergartener-parties-alone-after-no-one-shows-up-to-birthday-bash/?fbclid=IwAR3bKwwqgQwBtCSpnE_XDLGBT-8aO08OG9UZFRMsgE_sXzyUFZ49iwYSmjM
And then I saw the note about a dear friend from my doctorate program who passed away today. Too young. Too full of life. Diagnosed with cancer just a few short months ago and today were his final breaths here in this place. When I think of Terry I think of life life life. He gave it to all and he gave it his all! We are better because of him. Our world will greatly miss him.
As I approach my 45th birthday this Sunday, I was blessed to see this article last week. It is time for me to build a reflective tool that honors the gift and blessing of this life. Each stone a reminder – of what is – of what can be – and of what is to come. But ever reminded, that I may never get to hold each of the stones. The odds are high that many of those stones will never be held in my hand. Such is the journey of this life. We know not when or where or how? We only know the end comes for all of us. The death rate is and has always been, one per person.
Here is the article from ESPN:
EAGAN, Minn. -- In front of home, in between a few shrubs, stands a curious tower. No more than four feet tall, it's filled to the top with stones. Inspired décor? Sort of.
"It's there to remind me how brief life is, and how important the time we have here is," the quarterback says.
But ... a tower of stones?
Cousins laughs. "Oh, it's a little morbid," he admits, "but it's a tool my Bible teacher taught me in high school, and I'm carrying it with me."
The stones were inspired by a Bible verse, from the Book of Psalms, first shared with Cousins while attending Holland Christian High School in Holland, Michigan.
Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
"It's about the importance of leaving a mark and making a deposit in people's lives in a way that matters," Cousins says. "In other words, when you have an understanding that life is coming to an end someday, and that we only have so many days? There's wisdom in that."
For Cousins, it was important to transform the verse into a visual reminder: 720 stones.
"Let's say I live to 90, that would be a pretty good run," he says. "We went month to month, and we added it all up, and it was 720 stones because I turned 30 this year.
"Every month I'm going to take out a stone, put it in my pocket, and think: 'Once this month is over, this is gone. You can't get it back, it's gone for good.'"
The stone for each month represents the amount of time he likely has left, but it also serves as a reminder to Cousins on how he is spending that time, both on and off the field.
"Like everybody else, I am naturally selfish, and so I'm going to think about myself," he says. "And I think at the end of my life, it's not going to be about what I did for myself, but what I did for others. Maybe it's staying after practice to do hand signals with the guys to help them get caught up to speed. To make it about others -- I think that's what leadership is all about, quarterbacking is all about."
As Cousins removes a stone each month, the feel of it in his palm is a reminder of the time passing. But it's the questions that come with each stone that perhaps carry more weight.
"What impact are you making, not only today, but for eternity? What impact are you making to leave a legacy?" he says.
"It's just a healthy reminder, make life about other people, invest in other people, knowing that in the end, that's a life well-lived," he says.
A life well-lived – a well-lived day – moments – our life moments deeply matter.
Yesterday was my daughter Jewel’s 5th Birthday party – she was not alone – and party we did with unicorns and all! She teaches me daily that moments matter.
Today E, Teddy, Terry, and Kirk have all taught me lessons about life.
If blessed with another moment, there will be more learning to experience – more love to share – and more life to be lived.
In this moment – as you pick up and put down those memory stones - know that you are loved – neighbor – friend – world.