I had the opportunity in November to attend a celebration of life for the father of a very dear friend. I heard many people speak and some people sing. We had every reason to be celebrating the life of Wiley Embry. Wiley had received a heart transplant from a student who was killed in a car accident. Because this young lady was an organ donor, her end of her life meant the ability for the life of someone else to continue. The parents of the young donor attended the celebration of life. Because of their daughter, my friend and her mother were able to spend over two decades longer with Wiley.
Two years ago I had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta, Georgia with my friend, her mother, and Wiley. I have never seen a person who enjoyed life more than Wiley. His life was quite extraordinary.
Wiley’s motto was, “If I die tomorrow, I was not short-changed!” I believe that I feel the same. While I would love to think that I will live to be 105 year old, and as lively as ever, I know that there are no guarantees in life. It has taken me nearly 50 years of life to realize that there is no reason to worry, to cry, or to regret what has happened or what will happen. I do not believe that we can control our destiny, but that if we have faith, all things are possible. We can work hard, be strong, and try to make good choices. We can believe that we are doing things to change our lives. We cannot rely on other people to do things for us.
There is no greater satisfaction than when we succeed, we fall in love, and we have great things happen. We have to move forward even when we believe that we do not have the strength or will to move forward. I am not an overly religious person. I do not identify with any particular religion. I admire those that do and who use their faith in a positive manner. I do pray often each day. I do try to treat others well. I do slip from time-to-time when I am angry or frustrated. But, I try to live my life as if each day could be my last. I hope that those I love will know how much I loved them. I tell them as often as possible.
We must use our resources (our intelligence, money, strength, etc.) to help others. We must think that each day could be our last day. One of the most difficult tasks is to forgive and to love those who have hurt us. It may take years to get there if the person has hurt us badly. We all live with disappointment and regret for things that have happened or have been said. The ultimate test is to not continue letting that person hurt us. That may mean trying harder to have a relationship with that person. Unfortunately, sometimes our peace comes from simply walking away from that person. Whatever option works best, please do not prolong making the choice and suffering unnecessarily. Suffering can make us angry and bitter. In order to stop suffering, we have to take care of ourselves. We have to look for the positive daily.
Now that the holidays are over, it is a time for many to become depressed. I asked you all in my December post to remember those who have difficult situations. Sometimes that means individuals who have no family or friends. I asked that you invite those people to your holiday gatherings. Please continue to include those in need. Do what you can to help others.
In honor of Wiley, live life to the fullest! Don’t allow yourself to be short-changed. Make a resolution this New Year to be the best that you can be. Make a resolution to be an organ donor and give the gift of life! Make a resolution to give of yourself for an issue that may not affect you directly. Make a resolution to make the world a more positive place. Progress happens one person at a time. You can make a difference. We all matter.
Happy New Year!