In it’s simplest form, what is life? Beyond the scientific manipulation of microscopic molecules or the creation of life by a higher power. What is life? What defines life? What do we as ordinary people do that justifies the countless years we live and breath? What is the normal measuring stick of life?
It is easy to recognize the defining points of life’s greats. The likes of Martin Luther King, Thomas Jefferson, Louis Pasteur, or Jonas Salk just to name a few. But what if we seek the defining moments of just an ordinary person. What measure ones life? Is it the wealth one acquires? In today’s society a lot is said about the worldly possession one accumulates. However, surely it can’t be gold that measures one’s life. Too many have come and gone with little material goods to be measured. Perhaps it is fame that measures and defines a life. We certainly know of the many attributes of the famous. But again, they are so few, in comparison to the masses. So I will ask once more, What Defines the Life of Someone?
Allow me to digress a moment from my attempt to be philosophical and share a personal story:
One Saturday morning I was running some errands when I spied a sign: ESTATE SALE. I must admit, I do enjoy a good YardSale/EstateSale. Always in search of that missing Rembrandt or Van Gogh someone has hanging on their dining room wall. I followed the signs to a nice, middle class neighborhood. Older brick homes lining the road, situated on large wooded lots. I park along side the road. No wanting to get blocked in on the clean, concreted driveway already becoming congested. The front door was open so I entered and was greeted by several people instructing me to feel free to look around. They informed me of more items in the basement and if I needed any help, just let them know. As I turned to go down the hall, I heard one say, the resident has passed and everything must to be sold.
A picture started to develop in my head of the past occupants of this lovely home. I surmised, it was an elderly couple judging by the personal effects laying around. Additional items made me conclude perhaps the lady of the house had passed some time back and the gentleman was the last survivor. After a quick scan of the upstairs and not seeing a Rembrandt or Van Gogh hanging on the wall, I knew anything of interest to me would be in the basement. If I can’t have a long lost and valuable painting, then I would settle for a pack of screwdrivers or possible a pipe wrench to replace the lost one in my shop. As I mulled over the array of mis-matched wrenches, drill bits, pliers and assorted tools one might expect in a man’s workshop a different pictures begin to appear in my head. This elderly couple, like so many of us, spent their life accumulating all these material things, and for what purpose? To be sold in an Estate sale? It came to me, like a light on a dark night. At the end of our lives, we have done nothing but provided an inventory for an ESTATE SALE. As I stood there, the words “the resident has passed and everything must to be sold” bounced around in my head like a rubber ball hitting a concrete wall.
(back to trying to be philosophical)
Ones life is not defined by the accumulation of Estate Sale items or by a fleeting moment of fame. Ones life is defined by the Memories they leave behind. Things they have shared with others that leaves such an impact they are remembered. Life is not how many breaths we take, but how many things takes our breath. Life is not defined by what we have, but what we have given. When we arrived in this life, we drew our 1st breath crying and with nothing. When we leave this life,we will take nothing with us. If the memories we leave behind causes others to cry. Then our life is defined by Memories!!!!!.
We should all spent our remaining breathes, making Memories.