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November 19, 2012 at 12:46 PMComments: 1 Faves: 0

Every Day Is A Gift

By Jeffrey VanWingen M.D. More Blogs by This Author

This past week began with the death of a patient who I had known for my entire career as a doctor. He was a fit man who consistently tended to his health. Unfortunately, an especially aggressive cancer came unexpectedly and took his life.

The week ended with a visit to the hospital. A patient, whom I hadn't yet met, lost his life at full term, just prior to birth. Joy and anticipation quickly turned to shock, disbelief, and grief when mom noticed a cease of movement. Death can come swiftly, unexpectedly. I appreciate this as a matter of fact in my chosen profession. But rather than dwelling on our inevitable mortality, I feel that our energy is better spent on what we make of the time we do have... the present.

Marcus Aureleus said,  “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.” How easy it is to get caught up in the administration of our lives without appreciating the simple things along the way. Even a day that involves the typical, mundane gridlock of duties and work can be approached from different perspectives. 

While we may not control our responsibilities and commitments, we can control our perspective. A sunrise on the way to work or a personal interaction with a good friend during the day may be easily overlooked. Every day is a gift and, each day, gifts are presented to us in various forms.

Life indeed hangs in a fragile balance,  but that's not going to change. Considering the complexity of our living, functioning bodies and all the external forces we expose ourselves to on a regular basis, it's amazing that we live as long as we do. Think of how many times our computers crash or our cars break down. The resiliency of human beings is nearly unparalleled.

It's tempting to take a doomsday approach toward the reality of death, but I choose an optimistic view. We should be thankful for the gift of health that we do have, while we have it. We must make the most of our abilities as this gift is time stamped with an unknown expiration date.

In this season of being thankful, I encourage you to give thanks for your health. Seek inspiration in the fragility of life and view each day as a gift.

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1 Comment

  • Enjoyed your blog, so thankful for each day and see them as a blessing! :)

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