I had no part in my birth. I didn’t supervise, I didn’t direct, I didn’t call “Action!”
In fact, my earliest memory was when I was about 3 years old. I have flashbacks of moving house, or are they stories that I have heard my parents retell over the years that have now become memories, even though I wasn’t really conscious in the moment? I am not sure. All I know is that my earliest memory dates back to when I was around 3 or 4 years old. Before that, I was unaware. Most of us are like that though about life. We go about it unaware. Unconscious of the fact that each day is a gift. Each moment is a gift. It often takes a jarring moment, a near-death-experience, the loss of a loved one to come to grips with the fact that life is a gift, not to be taken for granted, not to be assumed.
We often forget that life is a gift.
We live in an age of entitlement – we think everything is owed to us. We act like we went to the store, ordered life 90-100 years worth and brought it home. We expect it to come with a guarantee. And if things go wrong, woe be to the manufacturer for having made a lemon. We act like we bought life with our money. Lord forbid something goes wrong in life, we get bitter and angry. How dare they take our money and give us a defective life instead? We should’ve ordered a different colour, or a different size. This one’s no good.
But Life. is. a. gift.
When I first graced this earth with my presence, neither myself nor my mother who was pushing me out could take credit for putting life into my body, giving me breath. That moment when I first breathed the air of this earth and coughed, I was unaware.
Yet I received a gift.
And today, I have the choice to either embrace the gift of life or go through this ride with a sense of entitlement. To choose to embrace life, is to choose to acknowledge that every day is a gift. Everyday comes pre-packaged in 24 beautiful boxes. Each one who is living gets the same measure, rich, poor, man, woman, regardless of their background or geographic location. We each get 24 boxes. And in those 24 boxes, are 60 smaller boxes. Each day, God gives us 1,440 boxes. Each and every one of us. No one has more, no one has less.
A gift is ‘something given voluntarily without payment in return’; ‘it is something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient’. Why do we have to wait until the opportunity is lost to lament our inaction? Ask anyone who cannot walk anymore, or who cannot see anymore or who cannot hear anymore, or who lost a loved one. They’ll say they wished they could’ve appreciated that gift while they had it. So why postpone, why wait for the future to pursue your dream? The gift of life is a waste if we do nothing with it. If we trample over it, if we let our dreams lay dormant in us. Why postpone happiness, joy, taking on that job, trying that new opportunity, going to the gym, making that life change?
Life is a gift.
Your talents are a gift. I am a gift. You are a gift. Your arrival on this planet was and still is a gift. Because you were created with a purpose. And rather than spending your life wandering trying to figure out what that purpose is, first recognize that you are a gift and that your life is a gift to humanity. And be thankful. And appreciate the gifts that you have in your life, in the form of your family, your friends, your job, your community, your church and all the non monetary things that enrich your life. All those are gifts both to you and to each other.
Tomorrow is not guaranteed. So live your life (and I ought to live my life) without inhibition – that doesn’t mean leading a reckless life. For a reckless life is one that is not lived with appreciation of the gift of life. A life without inhibition celebrates, maximises, and shares each one of those 24 boxes and the smaller boxes of 60.
I spent my sixty boxes on writing this post. What are you spending your life on?