Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Exist Or Live?

Part of Kim’s and my honeymoon was spent in a hospital.  True story.

We were camping with some of my family members way up in Northern Wisconsin and Kim had to have an emergency appendectomy.  In the middle of the night, I ran to get two of my sisters, both nurses, and we drove 30 miles or so to a small town and the nearest hospital.  A 40 bed hospital . . . yes, 40 beds.  It was that tiny.  Kim was the youngest by light years!  Frankly, it seemed to be more of a holding tank for the very elderly.  More like a cross between a nursing home and hospital.  Except for Kim.

Down the hall was a very ancient lady who spent the days in bed in a prone position staring at the ceiling.  Someone, not sure who, came in everyday and read her Bible passages.  She never left her bed and to be honest, when I would peek in her room from time to time, it didn’t seem she had moved.  Another lady right across the hall was informed by her sons and daughters that she was leaving the hospital to go to a nursing home.  She cried and protested, but the family thought it was best.  It was all very sad.

I bring this story up because of a conversation I had with my niece, Jodi, when we gathered together to celebrate the birthday of my 99 year old mother this past week. 

Jodi told the story about her 80 year old aunt, Frannie.  She plays golf.  She rides a bike long distances.  She gets together frequently with friends.  Goes shopping.  Plays cards.  Frannie is also nearly paralyzed on the right side of her body from a stroke.  She also has seepage in her brain stem that cannot be repaired due to where it is located.  Frannie describes herself as a “ticking time bomb”.  She could die any minute, any day, any night.

But . . . Frannie made a decision to Live rather than merely Exist.

To Exist Or Live.

Today is the last day of the year, New Year’s Day. 

Many of us will choose to make resolutions and promises and decisions.  Most of those might last a day or so, maybe a week or two.  Some perhaps longer.  A few might make it through the year.  A few. Very few.

To Exist Or Live.

It seems to me that a worthwhile resolution or decision might be to make a deliberate, conscious choice to Live rather than to merely Exist. 

I think we’ve seen both.  I think we’ve crossed paths with those who Exist rather than Live.

Those who Exist are tired.  They go through the motion.  They lack passion.  They lack vitality.  They move from day to day, week to week, through life, through love, in a rut, in a routine. If I were to give them a color, I’d choose gray.

And then . . .

There are those who Live.  They grab at life.  They push themselves.  They laugh more.  Cry more.  Feel more.  There is energy.  Their minds are active.  There is clarity in their eyes, their speech.  They listen.  I would color them anything bright, but not gray.

It seems to me that a worthwhile resolution for each of us . . . for both you and I . . . would be to make the choice to Live rather than to Exist.  To Live fully, completely.  Embracing all that life has to give, to offer.  To make the most of it for ourselves, and to help those around us to make the most of it for themselves.  Helping each other to Live rather than Exist.  Is there really a choice?  Really?  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!



  1. Joe - thanks so much for this...as I enter this life changing situation I hope that I never become gray! There are so many things that I WANT to do, so many things that I SHOULD do that I'm having a hard time redefining what I am GOING to do.....better mom, definitely, better wife, definitely...but what else? Decisions, decisions! Whatever I do, you can be assured that I will not merely exist!!

  2. You're very welcome, Stephanie. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to not only read my post, but to also take it to heart!


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe