I unexpectedly lost my father-in-law this past Thanksgiving and it was one of the few major losses I have experienced in my 28 years. Nothing makes the loss of a loved one easier, but I can truthfully say that this situation has opened my heart in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
The crowds of people who attended Ace’s calling hours and funeral was absolutely breathtaking and it was clear that he had a strong impact on the lives of those he came across. He was a husband, father, friend, and respected foreman … an important part of many lives. Seeing all of the love and support that surrounded him and the family made me rethink what really matters in this life.
These past few weeks have prompted to me ask … what REALLY matters? And how do I want to spend my time while I am here?
For one, I have been shown the importance of fostering strong and caring relationships with those who matter to me. Seeing so many people show up to honor and acknowledge Ace and his family was incredibly humbling. It opened up a part of me that longs to be a better person. To be the kind of person that extends generosity and compassion more often. To be the kind of person that strives to support and build up those around me — just as so many did for us during this difficult time.
In addition, witnessing how unexpectedly our lives can be flipped upside down put a lot into perspective. We can’t control what the universe is going to throw our way, which makes striving to live with intention and purpose so important. I want the time I spend with those I love to be fully present and meaningful and I want to strive on focusing more on the now in all that I do. We spend so much of our time letting the meaningless stressors of life consume us that we have lost touch of the present moment. The only moment we really have.
When I look around, I see a society who is wasting so much energy worrying about work, never ending to-do lists, and negative relationships. We let our minds fall into destructive patterns that become our “new normal” and it’s easy to forget what truly makes us happy. Our passions and joys become covered up by life’s silly matters. It’s not that our joy doesn’t exist anymore — we’ve just become too consumed with our day-to-day struggles to listen to what our deeper-self is trying to say.
What fills you up and makes you excited to wake up each morning? I wholeheartedly believe that we are all here for a purpose and it’s our job to remind ourselves, again and again, that we have so much to offer this world. It’s not always going to be an easy reminder, and inevitably life will throw us hardships, but I suppose that is the beauty in life, right? We are here to learn through the challenges and rediscover the importance of having faith and prioritizing love throughout it all. I have been reminded that there is strength in trusting in a power greater than myself, and slowly, I am learning to release my control on life and learn to live in the flow of it all.
I suppose 2017 has been a hard year on a lot of us… but it has also shown us that we are resilient and strong through the most difficult of times. I’m not sure if Ace meant to teach me these lessons during this time, but I am grateful for the loving reminders. As we all head into this holiday season and the New Year, I hope you can take a moment to reflect on what really matters to you, too. <3