Fall is my absolute favorite season. Humidity gives way to crisp air, trees transform to an array of stunning colors and then there’s the food… enough said. Aside from all that, fall serves as a subtle, beautiful reminder of the transient nature of life – all that lives eventually dies.
Lately, Chris and I have heard many stories of people suffering from brain tumors that haven’t fared as well as him. Hearing these heartbreaking stories leads to such a heavy feeling of survivor’s guilt. Why did Chris survive and other worthy, amazing people have not? Was it divine intervention or just pure luck? I’m not sure what I believe, but I often wonder if we are living our lives as we should considering the enormous gift we’ve been given. Perhaps we should be experiencing every ounce of life we can – going on African safaris, skydiving, volunteering as much time as we can to those less fortunate. Can the way we live our everyday, middle class America, 9 to 5 life ever be enough to say thank you for the gift of life?
The fact of the matter is I’ll never know why Chris survived and the alternative will likely forever haunt me.
In terms of survivor’s guilt though, I think I do have an answer. While driving to work this morning, I opened the sunroof and commented to myself on how it was my favorite type of autumn day …and then it hit me. We don’t need to win a Nobel Peace Prize or travel to some far away land to really live. To do justice to those who haven’t survived, we just need to live it well – no matter what we’re doing. So do me a favor today. Take all of your everyday experiences and try to make it worth something. Smile more. Laugh until your belly hurts. Really taste that morning coffee. Do something nice for someone just because. Life doesn’t have to be “big” to be wonderful and fulfilling.
Take joy in all the simple things for those who can’t.
Submitted by Ashley Cusano