Life is a gift from God, I was taught and heard so many times in churches through the years. When my life was a constant struggle of one sort or another and it seemed more continuous stress than I had energy to handle, during my forties and fifties I was always exhausted and felt like I was dead among the living.
I once said to a priest that it seemed to me that life was not a gift, but a sentence. He did not scold me, but chuckled and simply said, I know sometimes it can seem that way. I didn’t find that much help, but I could not yet see the truth at all in life as a gift. If this is a gift, I thought, I sure don’t want to experience His punishment.
What would I do without this friend or that one, I wonder after I have talked to someone I do not see often, and remember the many ways in which she has touched my life, like Carol, my former roommate, who still lives in California. I have and do still think of her as my other sister, one I am not physically related to, but who has been a true sister to me for the last 48 years.
I am lucky enough to have a couple of cousins and a few friends who are also such treasures.
Perhaps it was in thinking of how important various people have been to me and how terrible a loss it was for me when any of them had died, I began to look at life in a different light and to slowly see that my life was probably not meant to be a gift to me, but a gift to others. Certainly there have been many whose lives have been gifts to me.