Six Lessons Learned… More?

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My funeral trip has come and gone. I learned a few things, none expected but all of some value. In no particular order:

1) Life is like that. There’s no lesson plan or schedule to it. Lessons come and pass.We notice and learn, or we’re too proud or busy or distracted, and we fail that lesson. Either way, life goes on.

2) People die all the time. Some losses are more surprising than others, but most seem obviously, deeply wrong to those who care the most. We each come up with various ways to cope with this reality. Very few of us find our coping strategies fully satisfactory or comforting when we actually encounter the Reaper’s work. Life goes on, nevertheless. What’s the alternative?

3) Have you ever taken a long drive alone without the usual distractions? No radio, no audio of any kind, just road sounds and the sights passing by each in turn? Try it some time. You might just like it. Rather peaceful. Your mind slows, and time passes faster.

4) Casinos can be rather sad places, really. Entertainment? You know how folks look, sound, act when they’re having fun? Most folks in Erie, PA at their machines looked like zombies or people working in despair at a really boring job, on the slim chance they might get paid. Folks without money to spare doing just that, throwing it away in their spare time (This place is never closed, EVER). Their investment plan: that of victims buying hope at a cost they can’t afford. I gamble in certain ways, in a sense, when the odds are favorable: thus never in any casino. I stopped by for an overpriced but simply fantastic steak dinner. I actually enjoyed myself there, cheaper than most people there.

5) Think you’ll live forever? Most of us do, when you dig under the rational surface. Why else would we waste so much time, so casually and without a care. The one form of wealth that no one can amass – time – yet most of us casually throw it away like something cheap. We often “kill time” – imagine the same people casually “killing cash”! Yet gathering more cash is trivially easy, compared to gathering more time. Everything we know today might extend your life span a decade, total, if you’re lucky. The end result is exactly the same for everyone. Make the most if it, your life! Most people burn through it without a thought, get little out of it and leave hardly a trace behind. Forgotten because deeply forgetable. You’ll never achieve or receive any greater gift than than life. DO something grand and memorable with it! Don’t be forgettable. My aunt Doris certainly wasn’t. She was a bonfire that left a mark, a deep impression, and lots of memories. You?
Your choices add up in time. Your time is limited. Choose wisely!

6) We do live forever, as it turns out. I learned that watching the great grandkids of dead Aunt Doris living without compromise: running, laughing, screaming, making no compromises with life. It’s a funeral so I should be quiet and still? Completely unacceptable! I will live fully right NOW! Doris was dead, and we adults were somber and respectable; these small children were more alive by far than anyone else in the room. They had more time to burn, AND they were squeezing the most they could out of every waking moment. They knew life, WERE life, were the future simply because they’ll outlast the rest of us by far. We live well when we remember what they know about how to live. We’ll live forever, yes. Through their memories of us, our lessons to them, and our genes. The rest is theological stuff that no one can really claim to know. Assumptions, pleasing or not, remain assumptions. I’ll find out what’s real after I die, not from some zealot or another selling their brand and their answer. Until then, I take deep comfort in the kiddos. The end times have been coming any time now for thousands of years. These days it’s global warming. We’re doomed! Yet the kiddos are smart, and they’re alive. They’ll manage, likely in ways we current adults couldn’t imagine.

That’s enough for now. More t ban enough arguably. If you got this far, thanks! I’d love your impressions. I’m both confident in my ideas and more than willing to dump them like a bad habit, if someone gives me a reason. Learning happens that way, and I love leaning even more than I love teaching: a lot!


  1. I love how you described the children squeezing the most out of every waking moment! If we adults lived that way there wouldn’t be so many us living a life full of frustration.
    Love your insight & thank you for the follow.


  2. My heart aches for your loss. I love the ” bonfire” description. 🙂 I agree- we tend to worry about about everything, but what really matters. One of my favorite sayings came from a wise turtle( i cant remember the title of the movie): ” yesterday is history, tomorrow is uncertain, but today is the gift… Which is why we call it “the present.” Children are great reminders of this timeless truth! Love remains…


  3. At my grandmother’s funeral as I was helping carry the casket out I couldn’t stop smiling as I looked at people in the aisles. I thought for a moment at how wrong it was to smile at a funeral and then decided to go with what felt natural. I continued smiling. I felt happy thinking of Nana and our memories and of seeing family that I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a nice way to say goodbye. But really Nana is still there in my memory, she hasn’t gone anywhere.


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