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Monday, July 10, 2006


 

Life is a precious gift


Life is full of coincidences, good and bad. This is one of the bad ones. Just a few hours after posting the item below, noting the deaths of some Iraqi and Palestinian children, I was out on an early evening run in the hills above Silicon Valley. Rounding the final downhill corner, there in the parking lot were two ambulances and a body, covered by a blue sheet. A young woman (the victim's wife?) was wailing unconsolably; the death, which appears to have been a heart attack, had obviously just happened. It's possible, even likely, that this was one of the cyclists whom I had passed on the trail during my run just minutes earlier.

Now I don't want to scare anyone who might know me, but death seems to follow me around. Just one week less than a year ago today, another person died less than a hundred yards away from this one, again while I was running there. Nor are my encounters with death limited to this one preserve. A few years ago, I was at Nevada Falls in Yosemite when someone slipped into the pool above the falls and died. I watched a surfer drown at Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu. And there was another one in there somewhere. It's enough to shake a guy up.

Which brings me to the point. Life is a precious gift. It doesn't matter whether you think it's a gift from God, or a gift from Mother Nature, or the statistically probably outcome of Brownian motion in the primordial soup, it's still a precious gift. And for me, that means two things. One is to appreciate my own, every day. Appreciate the sound or sight of a bird, or the smile of a friend, or a beautiful sunset, or, not to slight inanimate objects, a good song or a good movie. Because, just as it did for the unfortunate young man today, or the others whose deaths momentarily shook me as I watched them happen, life can end suddenly, and prematurely.

And the second meaning for me is embodied in the post below this one. Just as I value my own life, so too I recognize the tragedy of so many lives cut short, whether they be identifiable ones like the ones below, or the nameless 12,000 children per day who die of starvation that I posted about not long ago. And so I pledge to continue to fight on their behalf, so that they, like I, can have every day possible to enjoy the precious gift they received at birth.


Why stop here? There's more...

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