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Together Forever

Thoughts of the passage of time have been on my mind. It's my birthday later this month, so this may be an artifact of that occasion. The years go by. We take it for granted that they always will, but then, somewhere in the recess of our mind that we dare not go to often, we know that at that some point this will not be so. It is, in fact, true that we live a transient life. This seems to run contrary to what we want, nevertheless it is so.

Today I had a very nice surprise. My partner, Ashley, had arranged a party for my birthday. It isn't until the 27th, but that is a difficult date for folks to recognize someone's special day, as it falls smack during the holidays and winter weather. So, we went to Emerald City Lounge for brunch this morning, and lo and behold, several of our friends were there waiting. It was a very humbling experience to realize that these people had taken time out of their day to come and visit with us, just to celebrate my birthday. I was nearly speechless at first.

It was during this occasion that I thought of everyone who was there, of their love, and how they are currently a part of my life. Some have been a part of it for over a decade, some fairly recently. We are now on this journey together. How long we will continue to be is anyone's guess. It may seem like a bit of a downer to think of things this way, but it also helps one to appreciate those that are in our lives at the moment, because we have no guarantee of the time ahead.

If we think about it, life is a series of eras. Some eras last for a very long time. Some are fairly brief. Many fall somewhere in between. We all desire some definition of stability, whether it be in regards to health, relationship status, living space, job/career, or loved ones. If we're lucky, we have such stability for awhile, but not forever. Nothing is forever. And that is perhaps what makes life so precious.

I remember the Spring of 2010, when Dr. Haynes told me I probably had cancer (it wasn't known for sure yet, but all signs were pointing in that direction). Before it became clear that it was a very treatable form of cancer, I remember feeling cold and isolated. It suddenly occurred to me that I might not be continuing this journey of life with those of my generation, and those who mattered most to me. I would look over at Ashley and think, sadly, that we wouldn't grow old together. I thought about all my friends, and how I wouldn't find out how their lives developed. And their kids, now little, would grow into adults, and I'd miss all that.

But one thing the cancer scare helped me realize is that the uncertainty of life is the rule, not the exception. We, all of us, will only be together on this journey for a certain period of time. It really is true that, while we are happy and content in one era, it's best to enjoy it at the time, because the next era will come sooner or later. Kids grow, parents pass away, friends come and go, life partners are only with us for part of our lives. Nothing is forever. And that's why it's all so special.

I'm thankful for today.


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