Bonnie Bing: Finding our way to what really matters

11/11/2012 8:02 AM

11/11/2012 8:02 AM

Even though one friend with a keen sense of direction said my column about developmental topographical disorientation was much ado about nothing, I received a ton of e-mails containing great stories of others like me.

No sense of direction. No internal compass. Lost to the phenom of North and those other directions.

One woman got lost in the gigantic Macy’s store in New York and nearly missed her plane home. A man left with his vacationing family in the car at 4:30 a.m. to avoid the desert heat. Sadly, when the sun came up, it was on the wrong side of the car. One woman took over driving duties so her husband could take a nap. She proceeded to drive in a big circle in the country around the city they were trying to leave, which happened to be Paris.

I had a great time reading others’ adventures. Then I came to an e-mail from a friend, who started out by writing, “Loss of orientation is not always about direction, sometimes it’s a feeling.” He explained that his wife, who also is a longtime friend, was having surgery to remove cancer from her pancreas. And although he is a doctor, he said he was feeling “directionless.”

His next e-mail delivered another punch: “The cancer was beyond the scope of surgery and therefore she was closed without removal.”

I started to call but knew I’d cry. So I struggled to try to find the right words in a e-mail. But it was their reply I’ll never forget: “Currently, we are living life at full speed and greedily taking the time for ourselves. We accept the timeline given us, but we will not accept the slipping away of life without living.”

Their love has been reignited, and every day has become precious.

Why can’t we — all of us — remember that every day is precious? It won’t come again. After a day when things have gone wrong and we fall in bed saying, “Thank goodness this day is over,” we should be saying, “Thank goodness I had this day and I can start again tomorrow.”

It shouldn’t take something being taken away before we realize every morning the sun comes up.

We’ve been given the gift of a new day, and we need to live it at full speed, reignite love and take some time for ourselves.

I am grateful for my friends who are going through this incredibly difficult time surrounded by friends and family. And even though we’re reminded from time to time to be thankful, their situation, and others going through similar times, can teach us to be less directionless in what really matters.

Life.

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