Generation to Generation

Life is an everyday occurrence, until one day it’s not. ~~ Susanne Strempek Shea

A few weeks ago I was looking at hand tools, many of them with a lifetime replacement guarantee. As I read those words I was reminded there really are no guarantees, not with tools and not especially when it comes to lifetimes. Here today, gone tomorrow — no time outs, no second chances and few replacement parts.

Like most of us when young and stupid I thought myself invincible, that I would live forever. At least I envisioned the inevitable so far off that it seemed that way. Even when I experienced the death of What was I thinkingcontemporaries my attitude, my life style and the risks I often took spoke of an assumed immunity.  That only happens to the other guy, tomorrow never comes! But as one ages — receiving experiences and education that almost always come with the passage of time — we realize the years quickly pass us by. For me the inevitable is a lot closer than it was once perceived.  So, I’ve changed my mind, time to savor the moments.

Some of us live long lives, while others are cut short by accident, disease and other tragedies. I often think of my father, who I never knew. I’ve been blessed now to live nearly 30 years longer than he. That’s a long time and there is so much that he missed. At least from our limited perspective, that’s how it seems.

There are others who I came to know and love that were taken from us far too early. I have often wondered, why have I been so lucky? Why these others, but not me? The answer is simple, because there is a plan.  So, I often remind myself to be grateful for every day, every minute that I’m allowed to live-on, regardless my circumstances. All things in due time. No one knows when life as we know it will end, but we do know our days are numbered. Indeed it’s a certainty, none of us will get out of here alive.

As one generation fades into the past another takes its place and still another waits in the wings for the call to lead, to inspire, to make its own mark. It’s a never-ending process and all of us are trapped within it, forced to live by the same rules of longevity. Some of us fall short of expectations, things don’t happen according to plan, we fail our own imaginations and those who deserved so much more.

Five Generations
Five Generations

With the death of our loved ones and friends — the unexpected kind especially — comes a poignant, stark and cold reminder. Some would call it a dose of reality. As inevitable as the sun will rise in the morning, time marches on and the torch is continually passed from one generation to the next. Soon it will be my generation’s turn as well. We’ve already lost a few and just like all those before us, my generation too will someday be but a memory.

I’m so grateful for my faith and the sure knowledge life does not end with death.  Yes our bodies die, but our spirits live on beyond the grave where there will be continued learning and progression, and where families truly are forever.  One lesson to be learned?  Never complain about getting older as it’s a privilege denied to many.  We should thank our lucky stars and for me, it’s just as singer Jimmy Buffett has sung; something I’ve shared here before as well as in other places:

Some of its magic and some of its tragic, but I’ve had a good life all the way.

Related Posts: Age Has a Way; Growing Old is Inevitable; A Few Thoughts on Death and Dying

4 thoughts on “Generation to Generation

  1. I agree with your thesis on this Rick.

    I was fortunate, or maybe unfortunate, depending on how one looks at it, to have reality slap me hard in the face when I was in the 6th grade. I was diagnosed with polio, and I remember very clearly my response when the doctor dropped the “P” word. I said, “I never thought something like this would happen to me, someone else maybe, but not me”. That was an early dose of reality, but the up side was I had a mild case, and made a complete recovery.

    I’m 72 now, closer to 73, and I still have several things I need to accomplish before my expiration date. I need to finish and publish my family history book, go to the village in Germany where our first ancestor who emigrated, and started our family came from, and connect with the five families still there who bear the same surname. I want to write a biography on some lesser known person in history, but important none the less for his not being well known. I need to help my cousin get ready for the Bloom Family Reunion scheduled for the summer of 2015.

    Your post made me look again, and ponder on the inevitability of our mortality. I just hope I can get these few accomplishments completed before that day arrives.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post Rick

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