My mother died in November of 2015. I took care of her for five months up until that point and it was, so far, the most shaping event of my life. Watching such a strong person become so physically weak and dependent was a new experience. I’ve been around a lot of death, but this death was a game changer because it showed me that no matter who we are, we all have something in common – today.
Up until her last moments of consciousness, my mother moved in to life looking for opportunities. She even finished the final edits on a family history book in her last days. I watched her sit on the edge of her hospice bed doing work she felt was important an meaningful–even at the end. How would your life look if you approached it that way, like every moment counted?
Most of the pivotal moments I’ve written about have been about something that happened. But my mother’s death was more about something that was happening. She came to the point where she looked at the time period she had, and she made it count. Most of us treat most of life in a reactive way. Something happens, and it affects us. But what about what is happening? That’s current and it’s proactive.
Near the end, my mother was interested in Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. She referred to it often and wrote about it in various notes to us. It’s about a man who decides to take a path through the woods that wasn’t as worn and, in the end, he sees how he was better for it. The man taking the path was a proactive man. He didn’t wait to be thrown on to the path, he took it, on purpose.
We all experience pivotal moments, but how we respond to those moments determines if they are really pivotal. Some of us are learners and others are more hard-headed (and learning takes longer). But whoever you are, you’ve got the same 24 hours to live as I do. We’ve all had good and bad experiences, but how we respond to those events determines where we’ll go.
My grandma used to say “can’t never could do anything.” I never understood that as a kid, but I get it now. Do you?
Pivotal moment #10, the last in this series, is about today. How will you use this period of time? For some, it’s a work day. For others it’s a holiday. It doesn’t matter. There are many noble things to do with your work or your time off, how will you use the time?
In just a few hours, I’ll board a plane to Tanzania. I’ll be there for two weeks with friends that operate a 501c3 that rescues abandoned children and transforms communities. I proactively chose to use my time that way. My reason was simple. I’m learning that lots of little decisions added up make an impacting life and a better world.
Thank you for a great 2016. I’m wishing you an even better 2017 as you move into each day as a pivotal moment.
2017 holds many new opportunities for me, and it does for you too. I’m praying you move into yours proactivly and that it will make all the difference.