What an amazing thing is this process called life! When you get enough years under your belt, you realize how short is the time from birth to death, even for those who live to a ripe old age. The shortness makes life all the more treasured.
How much richness can be packed into those few years we have! I treasure memories of hiking the hills around Ukiah when I was growing up. I remember the doe that unknowingly walked close enough to me that I could have touched her. That was not far from Barra’s Winery. I remember catching a steehead in Coyote Valley, not far from the Guntley place. And the Golden Eagle that soared over the Wildberger property in the foothills just west of town. And going to the coast to wade in the frigid ocean and stand in the waves, letting the water wash the sand from under my feet. And watching the seal that swam into a little inlet near Mendocino and simply played in the water and showed off for me.
Not one of those memories is actually important, yet they are memories I cherish. They are part of the richness of life.
But most of all I value the memories of people. It was with my cousin Derry that I fished the river in Coyote Valley, with Chris Philbrick that I learned to play golf on that challenging Ukiah course, with the Burke family that I learned to hunt deer, with a hundred other friends making a thousand more memories.
I look back with two regrets. One, I never thanked any of them. I guess I just took them for granted. Only now am I gaining some sense of the greatness of the gift that they were to me. Two, it never occurred to me that any of them would actually have considered me a friend. I assumed they were spending time with me only because they were nice people. When our paths parted, I never kept in contact because I had no idea it might have mattered to any of them.
Now I know, having had lots of years to learn better, that if any of us will simply value a friendship, it will in fact matter and make a difference to our friend. We are God’s gift to each other. Good gifts, Wonderful gifts. Thank God for such a privilege.
Don’t neglect to be a gift today, okay?