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BRADY COLUMN: One Life to Live

A man in his forties gave up his work to go back to school to become a minister of music. His wife surrendered her tasks as PTA President and church organist. The family of five began to prepare to move out of the community. Local people couldn’t understand it, and one of them said to him, “It must have taken great faith to give up what you had and make a fresh start this far along life’s way.”

“Faith had nothing to do with it,” he said, “I just suddenly realized I had but one life to live and I had had better be making the most of it.”

Making the most of our lives has to do with how we view our stewardship-the gift of our life.

For me, making the most of our lives has to do with at least the following.

1) Keeping a growing edge! Someone said that at whatever stage of life we find ourselves we have to make a decision. We have four choices (1) we can quit, (2) we can retreat, (3) we can shift into neutral, or (4) we can move ahead.

The late David Todd Kearns, who was former CEO of Xerox and and first United States Secretary of Education, made this poignant statement: “Education is the transmission of civilization. Civilization is not inherited, it has to be learned by each new generation.” With this very exacting thought in mind, Education or moving ahead is vital and critical for all of us, especially our children anc young people.

2) Understanding humor as not excess baggage! Without doubt, a sense of humor or laughter is one of the ways to best manage stress, both individually and as a society. If we aren’t able to laugh at ourselves and with others, we are in trouble. One of the real dangers of our modern-day society is that we are losing our ability to laugh and therein lies the potential of explosive stress.

Next to prayer, laughter is the most important thing we can do. It has the power to dismantle stress by making us feel better, by keeping us from taking ourselves too seriously and by easing the symptoms of stress.

3) Having a compassion for people! Writing in his book “Living the Truth In a World of Illusions,” the late William Sloane Coffin stated that “God has made of one blood all the peoples of the earth. Black, white, yellow, red, smart and stupid, starved and stuffed, from nations large and small, whatever our creed, we all belong one to another. That’s the way God made us.”

And so we will continue with our message of inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness, of interdependence rather than independent, of cooperation rather than “my way is the only way.” The finest things in life are wrapped up in the personalities of people.

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