Finally, taking a moment, a breather from packing and cleaning, to get ready for an important part of my month, my writing group. We're back at our beloved Cape Cod Chat House and we'll be meeting on this lovely morning to share what we have written. This month, the prompt came from a group member who is getting ready to attend her fiftieth high school reunion. The organizer of the reunion has asked her classmates to write a four-hundred-word-or-less summary of their lives in the past fifty years. She's asked that they put down on paper what has been important, significant or otherwise meaningful. I suspect that she was specific because she wanted to avoid the usual litany of "I did, I have, I am, I was". So, in keeping with the word-limit, I'm ready for today and, after completing this exercise, I realize that I am so much more ready for this and all my today's, than I ever thought possible on that day in June, 1965 when I graduated from high school.
Thank you Sister Mary de Lourdes.
It has been fifty years since my high school graduation. Fifty years of life. A quick glance in the mirror reminds me that so much has changed. I live in an older version of myself, in a world that has changed, exceeding the expectations of a seventeen year old, yet still holding the promise of more to come. It is a world filled with super-sped technology and I wonder at times where I fit and what have I done to contribute.
It was a wise Sister Mary de Lourdes, my high school French teacher, who, for some reason I cannot recall, handed out a short poem in class one day. Little did I know at the time that it would become the platform for the remainder of my life, the framework for all that would follow. Somehow I sensed, from the moment I received that little gift, that while it might not always be easy, it would be worth the effort in embracing every word and carrying it all forth.
I still have my health, along with a number of great memories. I live in gratitude, taking little for granted. I am grateful for the wisdom the years have delivered. I understand much more now and have achieved the confidence to recognize why I was chosen president of my freshman class in high school.
I value love and love giving it. I enjoy sharing with others, giving over receiving. I have served others in ways that have been an honor and have gotten great pleasure from simply being there in times of need, offering strength and hope to those who thought they had run out of both. My measure of success has emanated from the adherence to these standards, not much more. So, the past fifty years, while they have slipped away as proverbial thieves, have been fulfilling and successful for I have, indeed, lived in accordance with what Sister Mary de Lourdes hoped for each of her students and I am eternally grateful to her for sharing these simple words.
The glory of life is to love, not to be loved. To give, not to get; to serve, not to be served, to be a strong hand in the dark to another in the time of need, to be a cup of strength to any soul in a crisis of weakness; This is to know the glory of life.