After my somewhat gloomy subject of illness and death in last week’s column, I felt a nudge to look for brighter spots. And, of course, they are always there; we just need to open eyes.
My nudge came as I responded to an invitation to celebrate Evelyn Koch’s 80th birthday.
It has become almost traditional to recognize seniors who hit that landmark.
But it is difficult to think of Evelyn as old; she is one of the most active people I know. She is also one of those who have moved into Dawson County and helped to make it better.
Those of us fortunate to belong to organizations with her are aware that she not only contributes in many ways, but is also creative in devising special contributions.What’s more, she does it all with a smile.
A little poem, included with the invitation, may explain her attitude. It certainly provides an outline for all of us as we grow older:
“It Takes a Lifetime”
It takes a lifetime to learn how to live,
How to share and how to give.
How to face tragedy that comes your way,
How to find courage to face each day.
How to smile when your heart is sore,
How to go on when you can take no more.
How to laugh when you want to cry,
How to be brave when you say goodbye.
How to still love when your loss is so great,
How to forgive when your urge is to hate.
How to be sure that God’s really there,
How to find Him, seek Him in prayer.
-Ruth Moyer Gilmour
Whether young or old, we can look for opportunities to see bright spots. For example, the Relay for Life didn’t get rained out; it just moved indoors and became more tightly knit.
A bright colorful spot that deserves notice and praise is the flower garden created by a children’s group at my church, and special commendations go to them as they take some of their floral exhibits to the Cumming Garden Club’s “Southern Breeze” show the first week of June.
Commendations are also due to the groups planning our local Memorial Day observances, when we will pay tribute to those who have sacrificed for our freedoms.
While I am giving advice, I’ll pass on some positive recommendations that were given to the Retired Educators group when they met last year at Robinson Elementary.
I don’t know who recorded these and I have enlarged upon a few of them. They were labeled “How to stay young,” but I think they would make sunnier days for any age:
Throw out non-essentials. Keep only cheerful friends — or help them become cheerful. Keep learning. Enjoy the simple things. Laugh often, long and loud.
Tears happen: endure, grieve and move on. Be alive while you are alive.
Surround yourself with what you love. Cherish your health. Don’t take “guilt trips.” Tell the people you love that you love them!. Remember: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
Helen Taylor’s column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.