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May 9, 1995

"What is life?"

Someone recently came up to me and asked me what life was. I had to sit for a minute and think. There are so many things that we as humans experience, that I am sure I cannot bring up all of them. But here are the ones that are special to me. Ideally, these following are how I wish for my life to be, but since I am human, I cannot live up to them all.

1. Life is a sacrifice. Have you heard of the "random acts of kindness and senseless beauty?" When is the last time you held the door for someone? When is the last time you agreed to help someone on a project, even though it was taking away from your time? When is the last time you helped a person that nobody else would? As humans, we all have our failings. We should strive to help others when we see that they need it. What about spending some time visiting a nursing home? Or helping out with disabled and mentally retarded children and adults? The biggest sacrifice we give is when we give time to do something for someone, and we give up time doing something else that we absolutely needed to do.

2. Life is caring. Have you smiled at your neighbor today? Have you sent someone a "thank you card" for a gift or for being nice to you? Have you called your parents and let them know how much you love them? Have you given that big 'ol bear hug to a person who looked like they needed one? We, as humans, are in constant need for love and affection. Even the most cold hearted person has the capability to care inside of them. Have you paid attention back to the people that tell you they care? Most of the time, we are so busy doing what we need to do that we neglect the signs of people that care for us. Visit someone, give them a flower, some homemade bread, or a token of your ap- preciation. Caring and loving should be unrestricted and everlasting.

3. Life has its tough times. We have all been through them. Has a brother or sister gotten sick? Did you just bomb a test you thought you would do really well on? Did your boss just chew you out for what you thought was no reason? Life throws its hardballs... let's face it. Life is not always perfect, and that is why there are other as- pects of it that help make you feel better. Go talk to a friend when you are down. Go give it a good cry. Most of all, do not hold it in you. It just makes it that much worse. Most of the time, when we are in a tough time, we do not notice that life also consists of loving and caring. Someone is always there, even when everything looks down.

4. Life is simple. Do not make life more complicated than it already is. When is the last time you stopped and just laid on the grass, staring up at the sky? When is the last time you picked a flower and gave it to someone? When is the last time you just sat with your eyes closed, meditating on the sounds of nature? We tend to get caught up in very complicated situations in our everyday lives. When everything looks like its about to go up in smoke, pause and reflect. If it can be sorted out, do so. Completing simpler tasks is much easier than trying to tackle everything at once. And right before it blows, calm down and relax. Go take a short walk, or go get that cup of coffee and stare outside the window for a few minutes.

5. Life is precious. Life is a gift. We are organisms, just like every other living thing on the planet. God has given us intelligence and the ability to survive. Our existence is very fragile. We need to cherish all the things in life that have been given to us while we are here. Have you paused and thought about how much you've accomplished today? Have you hugged that person you care about "just because?"