We have all experienced the frustration of being without electricity when the power goes off in the evening. You’ve got to keep the refrigerator closed to hold the temperature as long as possible. You have to find a flashlight to help you find candles and matches. The heater doesn’t function and if you are on a well, you have to conserve water to drink and flush toilets. No computer. No TV. If your phones use electricity, no phone. It’s good to have a land line as a back-up. The garage door won’t work.
The point is that we take many things for granted and only become aware of them when they are gone.
Health is another case in point. When we are operating at full capacity, we forget how many body parts have to be functioning normally to keep us feeling good and how many potential vulnerabilities we have.
Ralph Thompson brought this up in a discussion we had today in relation to my knee surgery. It’s been three weeks and I think I’m far ahead of schedule in my recovery. I can walk without a cane, although I try to use one simply to avoid developing bad habits in my gait. But I think I’m past that already.
There is still swelling. Hells Bells…they cut my leg off in two places and hammered metal fittings into the bone. You would expect some pain and swelling. But the point is that I took my leg strength and the ability to walk without pain for granted until the operation. I didn’t miss it until it was gone, but fortunately it is coming back quickly and I’m already starting to forget what it was like when I first came out of surgery.
I think there are lessons to learn from these two examples. Enjoy what you have when you have it. This is particularly important as you get older and body parts start freezing up or falling off.
The same idea applies to friends. We assume that our friends will always be there and we take them for granted. Some of us lost a good friend last week when Glen Dennee died. I’m sure he’s cruising the golden highway in a ’32 roadster, but his friends here will miss him. I know I will. It’s the same principle.
Enjoy what you have when you have it and spend time with friends while you can. My mother always told Tom and me to treat people like it’s the last time you’ll see them. At some point it will be the last time you see them.