Editorial: Treasure life's every precious moment
We all put so much faith in our tomorrows -- even in these times of isolation and pandemic.
"Most human beings," the intellectual author Aldous Huxley said with a note of emphasis, "have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted."
Ironically, Huxley died on the same day JFK was assassinated.
What will we have for dinner tonight. What trip will we take this summer. When will we check in on a lonely neighbor. When will we patch things up with an estranged friend or family member.
We take all of that for granted. We take for granted that the time will be there for us.
Some of that is good. It helps us plan ahead. And the comfort in it helps get us through the day.
"The knowledge that time is limited may seem to give our experiences weight and value, but sometimes it's a relief to live more lightly, when we have that luxury," self-help columnist Juliana Breines wrote in Psychology Today a few years ago. "Just because something feels limitless doesn't mean we need to value it less."
We're in the news business. We know about relief and about the obligation to sprinkle it onto our pages.
We're in the news business. So we also know about deadlines. Time is pressing and it evaporates and there is not enough of it.
We're in the news business. So unavoidably, we know also about loss and about unfulfilled plans.
Every day, our news space finds room for stories of sudden death -- crashes on the highway, unexpected shootings, tragic accidents, acts of fatal heroism. In virtually all those stories, there was someone who was going to have dinner that night, someone whose loved ones were unprepared.
"The loss of a friend," 19th century British poet Robert Southey said, "is like that of a limb. Time may heal the anguish of the wound but the loss cannot be repaired."
More than eight years after the death of her husband Beheej, Susan Anderson-Kleif, who writes a long-term grief column in Monday's Heath & Fitness section, remembers an argument about a week before he suffered the first of his strokes.
"We were disagreeing over some trivial matter," she recalled, "and he said to me, 'We shouldn't argue because we don't know how much time we have left.' He wasn't even sick but he had that thought. We quit immediately and changed the topic. But this stuck in my head.
"It's important to make every day a happy day and not take time for granted. Time is a valuable, precious and finite commodity. It should not be wasted."
Life is precious, the good and the bad.
Every day is a gift. None of it is owed or promised.
Cherish every moment.