What do I want to remember?

A couple of months ago I was recruited to organize a celebration for a colleague’s 35th Anniversary with the company. A few weeks before her milestone anniversary, she learned that her older brother had died. I read her sad news in an email she sent to my boss explaining why she had been non-responsive on email that week. My heart went out to her. When she returned to the office I cried as I hugged her and shared a prayer for her and her family.

Fast forward a few weeks and she’s at a milestone anniversary that many people don’t get in any area of life – 35 years with the same company. But she wasn’t interested in celebrating. She didn’t want the attention or recognition. She didn’t want to be bothered.

Her boss insisted.

She resisted.

We persisted.

I empathized with her and shared that getting through life’s deep sorrows requires celebrations of joy. And those celebrations are best shared with friends and loved ones. So we compromised and she invited a dozen of her closest colleagues from over the years and I worked as the errand girl to pull everyone and everything together for her hour of celebratory joy.

Our gift to her was to frame her anniversary certificate from the company.  One of the other ladies picked up a frame for me from a crafts store. I later decided to have the certificate custom framed instead, so the craft store frame has been sitting empty on my desk since July. I’m not a fan of wasting people’s efforts, so I assured the person who picked up the frame for me that it would be put to use.

For over two months this empty frame has been sitting on my desk in a very prominent position. [See Workspace Word Garden photo.] I’ve been trying to think of what type of photo to put in it. I’ve discarded every thought that has entered my mind.

Until last night.

Last night this thought came to me: I can put two pictures of myself in there. One of me on my feet celebrating a personal victory [see Performing beyond expectations] and the other of me on a gurney celebrating the fact that I was still alive. The pictures were taken exactly two weeks apart. It’s amazing to me to see how quickly my own fortune may change… but my joy can remain unchanged.

I want to remember to celebrate life.

Today’s lesson: We are not promised tomorrow. Be sure to celebrate your life today — even if you’re alone in your joy.

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