Making the best of Life
by Terri Pearce
About 15 years ago a good friend of mine died.
Mike was 45 years old. He had cancer. Although we didn’t meet often – I lived on one side of the country and he on the other – when we did meet there was no stopping us. We used to laugh a lot and talked for hours on end.
He had a loving family, his own business, he was a happy, successful man in every way. We all knew he was going to die, yet strangely, there was no sadness in his eyes and none of us felt uncomfortable about being around him or even talking about the inevitable. There was this strange peace, calm about him. No rush, no bitterness, no dramas.
When I asked him how he felt about life and dying, he told me this story which I’ve never forgotten. This was what he said:
When I was a child we had two dogs in the yard. In those days you didn’t think twice about tying them up, not like today. So they were both tied up, heavy gage stuff you know, just to be on the safe side.
One of the dogs was just lying around all day. Nothing seemed to stir him. He had his drinks, feeds at the same time, day in, day out, lying or sleeping all day. If people walked past, he would just look at them from the corner of his eyes without much bother and then go back to what he was doing before, which was of course, nothing.
The other one, well he was a different story. He was full of energy or maybe even anger. Always rattling his chain, always fighting against being tied up; wanting to get free, one way or another. Barking at everyone at every opportunity, trying to draw attention.
I’ll never forget those two dogs and the two different ways they chose to deal with their lot. One, having resigned to his fate and the other fighting in every possible way he could to change it even though it was, unfortunately, quite futile.
I came to see the same with people. There are those who have said YES to life and those who have said NO or just accept their circumstances. So I made the decision back then that I will say YES to life, live it to the fullest, making the best of it, of every opportunity. I came to cherish what I had and I decided to live every day as if it was my last, making sure that I would not have regrets of not having done something, or not making the best of my time on this planet of ours; or leaving any unfinished business behind.
We kept on talking all night just as we did so many times before. It turned out to be the last time I spent with him. But that day was a turning point in my life. My friend became more to me on that day. He became my mentor and role-model. Since then I’ve tried to follow his example, making the best of what I’m given and living every day as if it was my last. And that’s it, that’s all I wanted to say.
But then what about YOU – are you making the best of your life? Have a think about Mike’s message. I’m only sorry you never met him.
Ed note: If you found this article helpful or of interest, you might want to take a look at Hapster’s article, Dream – The Mental Prison, where he arrives at a similar kind of conclusion from a very different angle.