Life. Shortened.

Life. Within it contains a range of emotions. Ups. Downs. We like to try to float in between but life has a way of showing us the extremes at times.

Life is oftentimes contained in its purest form as a child. Recently, the life of a child has been a theme in my life. On a recent visit to see my brother, I spent time with my 9 year old niece. A life full of hope and promise. She’s as confident and effervescent as any child that age with hardly a thing to furrow their forehead with doubt. But as Christmas passed and every dream and desire didn’t come to fruition, her brow began to furrow, “Is Santa not the bringer of all dreams?” So began her first real moment of doubt. Her first real personal moment of suffering.

Also on my visit, I heard about another child. Another child barely old enough to know life. He was born in a small village in Indonesia. This village was so remote that extra pints of blood did not exist. His was a difficult birth into the world, his mother needing a blood transfusion. There was none. She died in childbirth. That infant child will have a furrowing of his little brow a little sooner than most when he’s old enough to realize he has no mother.

My sister-in-law, from Indonesia, felt that suffering because it was from her family back home. Her cousin, within weeks, in Canada, went through a similar difficulty in childbirth. In Canada, as much as we ask for blood donations, we are very fortunate because there was a pint of blood for a transfusion for this mother and both mother and child were healthy enough to go home within days of childbirth. The hope of new life beginning.

Later in that visit, my cousin who I spent a lot of time with throughout my childhood, who I shared many childhood memories, recently had a child. A beautiful child who smiles at everyone and is comfortable in the arms of anyone. I held him while we were out at dinner and there was the same familiar comfort with him as I have with his mother. It’s as if a moment in time transcended time itself and I was a child again, sharing that moment with him. A sweet, smiling life.

I came home from my visit to continue my life and recently heard a friend, who was pregnant, give birth prematurely. Too prematurely. The tiny life barely breathing the air of life. Gone. Why suffering comes to those often least able to endure it will always be a mystery. I only look at life as a series of moments. Moments to share. Moments to say all that you want to say to those you love in the short moments you have. There’s always something more you wish you could say to those you love, but if you can show your compassion every day, those words are written on your life itself. How you share is how you live.

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