"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John l0:10. "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal....And if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.... 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22. "That's Life." Song by Frank Sinatra.
You might have guessed: I am a big fan of quotes and sayings that state concisely (in a nutshell) what life is about. All the things in between are fillers (important, of course). Don't get me wrong, every aspect of life is serious and worthy of care and attention, but there are those things that are not preventable and by just living, they will happen. We cannot control them. For example, if you keep living you will age. I know we have all seen the commercials that claim that what they are pushing will suspend or stop the aging process. That remains to be seen. Or what about being told 60 is the new 30. Sounds wonderful, but tell that to my knees. I digress.
Regardless of where you stand on this, if you are reading this blog, you are still in the land of the living and you can weigh in. Hopefully, you will gain some insight into filtering out some of the noise that makes life more complicated than it needs to be. My question to myself was: "Am I living or just existing?" My response was yes and no, and not always in that order.
I am not saying that just existing is the worst thing in the world because it is not. It just means that one is not living life to the fullest. Just existing can also mean missing out on the joys of life. My response to myself was that I had been existing for years. Only because I had found a comfortable space in which to exist. I did things by rote; I put one foot in front of the other and kept it moving. Truthfully, sometimes everything was fine, sometimes not. There were some good days and some bad days. You might say that's life anyway. Let's keep going, and you decide.
Back to those quotes of which I am a fan. Live, Laugh, Love. The complete quote is as follows:
Live as though Heaven is on earth. Love as though you have never been hurt. Laugh often. These instructions are so simple and yet profound.
Live as though Heaven is on earth.
How does one live as though Heaven is on earth? That would mean being perpetually at peace, content, showing love to everyone, and expressing praise and gratitude to our Creator.
Love as though you have never been hurt.
This is especially difficult because you have to forgive anyone and everyone who has committed an offense against you, no matter how big or small. It also means that you harbor no resentment or ill will toward those you say that you have forgiven.
This is not too hard, especially if you are like me; I love comedy. Seriously though, I believe this means that no matter the trials in life, you should always try to smile and find laughter that is present in so many situations even in sometimes remembering a loved one who has transitioned. To this day I smile and sometimes laugh when I think of my older brother who passed away years ago. He was so humorous. He lived his life encouraging his family and friends with wisdom that was filled with humor. My big brother Carl P. Murdaugh, affectionately know as BeBe (as in Bebe's kids), made a difference in this world by spreading laughter.
According to scripture, we are to live life abundantly; that means to the fullest. Our Creator made this world a place where we could live a life that is blessed and filled with joy, while cautioning us that there are other forces at play whose agenda is to make our lives miserable. We have lived long enough to understand having a whole bunch of material things does not make life abundant. Life is more complex than that. John 10:10.
Love never fails. Love is appropriate in all situations. We are nothing without love. Not the romantic love that we all try to embellish. (I am not knocking this). It is about the genuine love God has for mankind and the kind of love that we should have for one another. Love is not pretentious, it is genuine and is expressed in actions. The great thing about love is that it does not discriminate, and it always forgives. This love is available to all. It does not matter if you are married or single, rich or poor, fat or thin, etc. If you don't think you have it, practice it and it will grow deeper. Share it and others will glow and grow. Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
A joyful heart is good medicine. A happy and cheerful spirit will improve your health, but a wounded and negative spirit can ruin it. Proverbs 17:22. According to Connect Us Commentary, there is a mysterious power that mood has over physical health. It has been noted by many doctors and nurses that sick people who maintain a good mood or a good spirit are aided by this in the healing process. Others with similar illnesses who have a down attitude seem to fade faster. A very good friend of mine passed away this past week, and already I miss her cheerful spirit. She had a host of ailments, but you really could not tell unless she told you. If you went to hug her, she would shrink back a little from the pain. Then with a broad smile, she would tell about the ailments that she had.
She was not voicing a complaint, she was sharing why she was so tender at the touch. Instead of hugs, I blew her kisses which were received with that same broad smile. There is no more pain for her now, and I am sure she is still smiling. Sister Cathy Kennedy-Jackson is now in Heaven. "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:8. I will miss you "Nurse Cathy." She served in the Nurse's Ministry at the church for years. We affectionately called her Nurse Cathy because she went above and beyond her duties. She left behind a legacy of love and service. I am one of the many recipients of the love that she shared throughout her lifetime. I will be forever grateful for that love and will cherish her memory always.
Now that we know that the quotes listed here are grounded in some truth, it makes sense to see where or if it fits in our lives. Why? Because we all want to live an abundant life whether we admit it or not. How much of the truth in these quotes registered with you?
Now is the time to examine where you are, and make the changes you perceive are necessary.
Live. Make it a point to check in with yourself every day, especially when you find yourself in a rut. As soon as everything seems the same and you are not experiencing the joys in life, big and small, it is time to review how you are moving about in your daily life. If it is robot-like, then you are existing. Highs will come and lows will come either way, but when you are living, the highs are so much more memorable and rewarding, and the lows are not as devastating because the gratitude for the highs does not wear off. It sustains you. When you are living life abundantly, those around you are encouraged by your walk and will want to know your secret. Your secret will simply be you are doing as God has designed. Gladly share with them how they too can live a fulfilling life.
Love. "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13. Live a life of love. Love God and others. Remember love is an action word. You cannot say you love someone without showing it. I have found that giving love lifts me as well. My life is enhanced when I show love to others. The gratitude they respond with brightens my life and even if they do not express it, just helping someone else makes all the difference. Find a way to show and share love every chance you get. Make someone's day, and you will make yours in the process. That is living in abundance. Love is the greatest gift of all. Keep giving it away. It will never run out.
Laugh. Laughter, I am told, can take years off of your life. I do not have documented proof, but I do know a good laugh can relieve stress and improve your outlook on life. That's a good start. There is so much for you to be joyful about. You should strive to bring joy to others. It sounds like it might be hard, but a simple phone call to someone who is sick and shut-in will bring a smile to their face. You might even get them to laugh with joy if you went shopping for them and brought the groceries to them. I am just saying. Practice being thankful for the small things and the big things; overjoyed that you have been blessed to receive anything. Always be of good cheer. Your life will be better for it, and the people in your life will benefit.
Some of the lyrics in Frank Sinatra's song, "That's Life," say: "I've been a puppet, a pauper, pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king, I've been up and down and over and out, and I know one thing, each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race. That's life. Yes, life brings many challenges, changes, twists and turns, but it's worth staying in the race.
Perhaps your takeaway is that you are already living life as best you can. Terrific! But, we can all get better. Try. Read the scriptures noted and see how you fare. My guess is that when it comes to living, we need different things on different days or at different times in our lives. This is certain, we all must live, love, and laugh to experience life to its fullest. Why? Because God said so in His word. He said it, and I believe it. His word is true. You can trust it too.
Wishing you an abundant life filled with good things! Go on, you can do it. Live, Love, and Laugh!!
Thank you for your continued support. May God continually bless you. Remember you can always write a comment to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also you can visit AskYvette1@gmail.com to leave a question for the advice column.