I can”t shake the words that I heard this past Sunday from our priest during his sermon. He started his sermon by mentioning how we have telescopes to help us see things far away and magnifying glasses to help us see things up close. Why is it we can”t see clearly the things that are right in front of us? He went on to tell a story about a man who had recently gotten a phone call from a close friend of his. This friend had been very sick and was in the hospital for a few days, but was out now and doing better. The man was devastated. He wondered, “How is it that I know everything that is going on in Charlie Sheen”s life, yet I know nothing of my dear friend”s?”
It”s a startling concept when you get to thinking about it. And so true too! We place so much value on the wrong things in this world sometimes. It”s easier for us to take an interest in people like Charlie Sheen rather than a family member or friend because first of all, Charlie Sheen”s life is newsworthy. For whatever warped reason we as human beings love nothing more than to see someone famous fall from grace…and Chuck is fallin” hard these days! But I think most importantly, we take an interest in the “Charlie Sheens” because in the grand scheme of things they mean nothing to us. There is no vested interest for us in his life. There is no chance of him doing or saying anything that will effect us personally in a negative way. He can”t hurt us. That”s really it, isn”t it? We protect ourselves from things that will hurt us. If Auntie Mae passed away we would be devastated, we would cry, we would have to overcome our loss somehow. If Charlie Sheen died we”d watch the story on Entertainment Tonight, listen to the laundry list of doctors tell us how they all saw it coming…but would we be devastated? Would we cry? Would we have to overcome the loss of Charlie Sheen? No, probably not. The general loss of life would be sad, of course, but it wouldn”t incapacitate us in the way the loss of Auntie Mae would. So it”s easier (and more casino na internet fun) for us to spend our time involving ourselves in the lives of famous people rather than the lives of those right in front of us…our family, friends and neighbors.
My point is this…how many times in life have you chosen the easy road rather than putting yourself out there with the chance you may be hurt? How many times had you wished you had made that phone call or sent that e-mail or just stopped by to say “Hi” when you were in the neighborhood? How many times each and every day do we choose to walk past opportunities to make a difference in someone”s life whether it be helping an elderly person with their groceries or a young person with their homework? We are given opportunities to make a difference in this world probably hundreds of times a day, but we are so focused on the wrong things that we don”t see the opportunities that are right in front of us! I”m a firm believer in leaving the past in the past. It”s gone. It doesn”t even exist anymore. The only thing you have is the present moment…it”s all we are truly guaranteed…ever. That being said, I also believe that we can learn from the past. We use our life experiences to grow and to help others grow. I believe we are brought into and out of people”s lives as God sees fit for us to be there. We all have something to offer another human being and God puts us where we need to be at exactly the moment we need to be there to do exactly the thing we are meant to do. But we still have to choose it. You can lead a horse to water but you can”t make him drink. We can be put in certain situations but what we do in those situations is totally and completely up to us. Let”s work harder on the things that are right in front of us…giving more to our family and friends, neighbors and also to ourselves. In the end that is what is going to make all the difference!
I”d like to close with this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Live well shall we?
- Michael’s Star Poem
- Easter Without Good Friday