Aware of the treasure

Jeff, Matt and Pasha walk the fitness trail of our York neighborhood, August 2007

Jeff, Matt and Pasha walk the fitness trail of our York neighborhood, August 2007

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.”
 Mary Jean Irion

Wherever you are right now, stop and listen; look around you.  Whatever you see or hear — the voices of your loved ones, the bustle of your workplace, the quiet of your home after others have left, your well-tended garden and your beloved pets and handmade decorations — all the minutiae of your present surroundings will one day belong to a vanished past.  The magazines and books lying around now, if they survive at all, will soon seem passé, then eventually become quaint collector’s items.   The photographs on your walls will fade and appear dated, the hairstyles and clothes hinting of bygone eras.

If this sounds a bit depressing, it need not be.  A long life is a mixed blessing in some respects, but most of us would prefer to live into old age, even knowing it will mean many goodbyes.  Yet there’s something tricky about the reality of everyday life; it perpetuates an illusion of permanence that vanishes under the most cursory reflection, but keeps reappearing nonetheless, clouding our vision and sapping our sensitivity to wonder.  Thus we fritter away the hours and days without taking much thought of how we fill them, believing an endless stream of sameness is sure to follow.

The changes may come gradually, or they may happen abruptly: a single phone call, an unexpected turn of events, a catastrophic diagnosis or a tragic accident.  In any case, time passes more quickly than we are able to imagine.  I don’t want to waste any time fretting over things that will not matter in the end.  I want to savor life, spread joy, laugh often and show others I love them.  I want to take it all in, while it is here and now, and face the future without regrets.

What are the treasures in your everyday life?  What do you love best about now?
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32 Comments

  1. What a treasure of a post! Thank you for reminding us to savor each moment.

    • Thanks so much, Z – I appreciate your kind words and your visits!

  2. God Morning, BeLOVE Julia & your treasures. Your thoughts for this day are not depressing one lil bit. Too often we miss the gifts the Lord has prepared for us this day. Or would miss; without a loving, friend reminding us ;+). The Trinity is my first treasure in my everyday life. My prayer every morning is to leave no gift unopened and receive all in gratitude to the Lord. Thus with this mind-set, my eyes, my heart, my soul is seeking throughout this day -treasures that I may carry without regret into all my tomorrow. Today, I will be allowed a half-hour with my grandblessings. I could fret about this messy situation thus missing todays gifts or i can choose to trust the future to my Abba. He and i can only control my intentions; so I can let Him love me this day & receive all His gifts of sunrises, flowers, cool breezes, birds, and where i am planted there is a hugh, Labrador “Bear” who provides hours of Joy. Intentionally today, I will capture and treasure the moments to share expressions of love: laughter, hugs and kisses, encouraging words and be content with all God has planned. Knowing in my mind-heart these are treasures that no power on earth is able to take from us. Daily Living prayerfully, intentionally, seeking Joy, one day at time; rather than chasing after the illusive ‘happy-ever-after’ tomorrow is my greatest treasure. Count today all Joy. [i believe you are also anticipating a treasure chest to fill with Joy today, Dear Julia, because you have said so.]

    • Thank you Kate, I think I probably need this message today more than most. I hope you have a wonderful visit with your grandchildren!

  3. Julia, My family is going through a really rough time right now, and everyday your blog provides me with a message of resilience and strength that helps me in my journey. Thanks for writing! Love and prayers, Faith

    • Thanks Faith, I had no idea that you too are enduring struggles. So many of us are; I guess that is part of the blessing of living a long time — we have more joys but also more sorrows. I am happy you enjoy the blog and it is so nice to hear from you here! Love and prayers to you and your family too!

  4. janet

    Amen!

    • Thank you Janet. Love to you and C.W.

  5. hilzonsix

    Julia, I appreciate so much your reminding me of the treasures that have been given me for another day. My husband is now in the “moderate to severe” diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. There are times when we are still able to laugh and enjoy each others company. He enjoys being in our home and is constantly complementing me on the beauty that surrounds him. I know this will not last, but I am grateful for this day. He has mentioned twice in the last few days that he will soon be moving…to his home in heaven. Tears but thanksgiving again. I am so grateful for the 52 years we have shared. Thanks for the opportunity to share.

    • I really appreciate you sharing your story with us. The friends I wrote about on the March 20 blog post had a similar story and he sat beside her every day for years and years, always grateful to be with her. I am so happy your husband has been at home and enjoying the beautiful things that always touch us on some level. I believe that people can sense such things even when they seem unaware of their surroundings. I am also grateful he has you beside him and that you have had 52 years together. I’m sending up a prayer that you will be strengthened and comforted, blessed with more laughter and joy together until he is enjoying beauty we on earth cannot imagine in his new and eternal home. Thanks for being here and sharing with us.

  6. Carlyle

    I am really with you on this one Julia. Even more so as I approach the end of my 85th year

    • Daddy, I am so grateful you and Mama are still here to be with Jeff and me during this very difficult season. I am grateful for every day we have each other. Thanks for reading my blog, I am so thankful to have you visit us here!

  7. This post resonates with my present mood. Today we had planned a picnic but unfortunately it did not happen and each member has now withdrawn to their burrows. I was disappointed. The silences is sickening.
    But after reading this special post I am thinking of gathering them all to go at least for a walk. Why should I waste this weekend which was expected to be filled with joy?
    Your posts often provide me with the support I need each day. How nice!

    • Bindu, what a lovely response to this message. I immediately connected with your reference to the “sickening silence” as I have experienced this in my own family more times than I care to remember. I am sending up a prayer that your family will be able to redeem this disappointment and find ways to salvage some joy from the day; if not now, perhaps in the future. It helps me more than you know to hear that my posts are helpful to you. Thanks so much for telling me so! You have truly brightened my day!

      • Yay! I did it. Your prayer worked, I should say. We went out in the evening to the park nearby and the kids enjoyed every moment. Moments to cherish. It was a great relief to us after a long period of worries.
        What if I had not read your post? I would not have tried it and we would’ve lost the treasure of the day. Thanks a ton, Julia. I now feel God is making you write such posts – for me and for many other unknown readers. 🙂 🙂 These smiles are just to express my joy.
        (in the 1st comment I mean ‘silence’ – typo) 😉

        • Bindu, it makes me so happy to read this! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks for letting me know that your day turned around. I am so glad to have you visit me here and I really appreciate your kind words.

  8. Seymour

    This is my first time ever commenting on a blog of any sort — I tend toward miserliness with my written words, and putting them in public spaces makes me anxious. Nonetheless, I wanted to thank you for sharing this bit of Ecclesiastes-like wisdom. You’re a good writer, and I admire your decision NOT to be miserly with your writing. Many people benefit from your words, here and in other venues. I know it takes a lot of work, but I pray that you will continue in this ministry of encouragement.

    • Seymour, I thank you so much for commenting today. For years, I was so afraid myself to do that sort of thing, and it still provokes a degree of anxiety in me. I finally reached the point where keeping silent (in a public venue such as this) was more difficult than speaking out. Getting older helped a bit. In any case, I do understand that you have given me a wonderful gift here in breaking your typical silence. Just last night I was at a low point, sharing with a close friend about the many fears our family is dealing with right now. I felt riddled with uncertainty about what I am doing, even in this blog which has been a great blessing. I prayed for guidance to know what to do or not do. Perhaps your comment is part of the answer to my prayer (and hers). Thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your generous words and timely encouragement. I am so happy you visit us here.

  9. Sheila

    Julia, you’ll recognize my words as very southern, but after your beautiful post and the many lovely comments, I can only add, “Bless your heart!” That comes truly from mine. Sheila

    • Thanks so much Sheila, since I’m a Southern belle myself I totally understand :-). Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  10. Today we are taking our almost 17 yr old cat to the vet to sleep ~ tears continue unbidden constantly and I long for a simple normal day. She is a treasure in our lives, never leaving my side in the 11 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. She purred me into healing ~ and was my constant companion, even in the darkest nights. She was our first ‘child’ which made us a family when we were first married. She was my hubby’s little girl (and only b/c we have human sons). We treasure the time we had with her ~ and the fact that she picked us as she was a stray. Thanks for the beautiful post. xo

    • I am so sorry to read about this and I feel sad for you in your loss. I sympathize deeply with people who are grieving a pet, because I had a kitty in childhood that was very precious to us, and now our dog is a member of our family. He will be 16 next month and it’s hard to imagine life without him. It is so sad to say goodbye to our animal friends who live with us. They give us a kind of love that is not found anywhere else, so unconditional and steadfast. When I read the research about how pets prolong our lives and decrease our stress, I think to myself that those of us who have pets in our family have known this all along. I pray that you will find great comfort in your wonderful memories of your sweet kitty. Thanks for being here.

  11. merry

    so pleased you have your computer back, no worse for its coffee bath!! maybe better…

    • Well at least I can say for sure that I appreciate it more. Just have to be sure and back up the data now. Thanks for visiting here!

  12. Cliff

    Thanks for this particular blog. I did something I almost never do – I sent it on to a few family members, two of whom had just lost a cat of 15 years. One responded with a link to youtube which is a song “Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney. Both were great words for this old man.

    • Thank you, Cliff! I have not heard of that song, but I will have to look it up and watch it. I might have to keep a hanky ready, though. My heart goes out to your family who lost their cat. Our dog is now almost 16 and I know I am still unprepared to lose him, but for now I’m grateful for everyday we have with him AND with each other.

  13. Beautiful Julia. Beyond the obvious like time with my husband, pets and our health, I also treasure a couple of really great long time friendships and memories of time spent with my dad. You’re right, some day, like all who were before us, we’ll be gone. There is no ‘dress rehearsals’, just the main event. It’s a challenge to make everyday count….sometimes you just want to relax, sleep late, read magazines, drink coffee…I count that as ME time.

    • For me, this morning was one of those “relax, sleep late etc.” mornings. I am sitting here eating fresh strawberries as I write this, and I’m about to go make another cup of tea. Jeff and Matt are off today so we are all together enjoying a peaceful morning, cold but sunny. It really doesn’t get much better than this. Thanks for being here!

      • Sounds awesome, cool and sunny here too. It’s like you live around the block 😀

        • Well come on over for a cup of coffee! And bring Petals and Blossum! 🙂 We can go to the Cherry Blossom Festival if the doggone trees ever bloom.

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