How Well We Live

A university professor tells of being invited to speak at a military base one December and there meeting an unforgettable soldier named Ralph.  Ralph had been sent to meet him at the airport, and after they had introduced themselves, they headed toward the baggage claim.

As they walked down the concourse, Ralph kept disappearing.  Once to help an older woman whose suitcase had fallen open.  Once to lift two toddlers up to where they could see Santa Claus.  And again to give directions to someone who was lost.  Each time he came back with a big smile on his face.

“Where did you learn to do that?” the professor asked.

“Do what?” Ralph said.

“Where did you learn to live like that?”

“Oh,” Ralph said, “during the war, I guess.”  Then he told the professor about his tour of duty in Viet Nam, about how it was his job to clear the mine fields, and how he watched his friends blow up before his eyes, one after another.  “I learned to live between steps,” he said.  “I never knew whether the next one would be my last, so I learned to get everything I could out of the moment between when I picked up my foot and when I put it down again.  Every step I took was a whole new world, and I guess I’ve just been that way ever since.”

The abundance of our lives is not determined by how long we live, but how well we live it.

                                                                                                                                                                ~~Barbara Brown Taylor

   1Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2 Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. 3 If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies. 4 He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. 5 Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.6 Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.                     Eccl. 11:1-6


Comments are closed.