A Story To Live By

Morning Story and Dilbert

Vintage Dilbert
February 25, 1994

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue – wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.”

He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment. Then he slammed the drawer shut, turned to me and said, “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.

I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life. I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings.

Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event, such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing.

I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I’m not sure what my sister would’ve done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I’m guessing – I’ll never know.

It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with – someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write – one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband often enough how much I truly love them.

I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.

By Ann Wells, Los Angeles Times
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10 comments
  1. ladygardeenya said:

    We all need reminders like this. Every day is a gift and as we age, the gift is more precious. Never waste these moments.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. This just hit me as I have a couple of things I thought I wanted to only use for a special occasion! No longer… Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on multicolouredsmartypants and commented:
    I’m a fan of FlyLady. Wednesday is ‘Anti-procrastination Day’. It never occurred to me that we can procrastinate about the good things of life as well as the unpleasant, until I read this. ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need’ the psalmist says. Yes! Every day of ‘enough’ or ‘more than enough’ should be a celebration. So many friends and family have died these past two years. Carpe diem: make the best of today.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wendy said:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings and Musings and commented:
    Good blog post about living in the “now”. Great reminder that today is all we have. Don’t save your best for someday!

    Like

  5. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for this touching reminder to LIVE our life before it’s too late…

    Like

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