I was sitting and reading the obituaries this morning. It is a lovely day today: bright, sunny with a tinge of coolness in the air. Fall has started. I am not a usual obit reader. But, as I turned the page through the local section of our anemic local newspaper, a photo of someone caught my eye. He was young (only 53) and he was a doctor (a fellow soldier). I wish they would tell us how people die. Personalize it.Â Sure, I care about their families, their survivors, their life’s accomplishments but I want to know…..Was their death sudden? Was it unexpected? Did they suffer or were they taken fast? Was a long, lingering death difficult for their spouses or families? Was it something inheritable? Was it something avoidable?
In this obituary, aÂ plain and stunning statement is made.Â He was “happiest at work.”
IÂ stopped instantly and prayedÂ that at the end of my life NO ONE could say that my happiest place was WORK. How sad. Even as a doctor, helping other brings great satisfaction but, I pray Lord, do not let that be my happiest place. I quickly made a list…a still growing list…..of places that would rank as happier than work. When I line them all up, the commonality is that they are NOT places, not organic destinations. My happiest places are MOMENTS in time. And those moments are all about LOVE. Holding my baby Cameron in the nursery of our Charleston house, nursing in the gliding chair, the cool spring breeze coming in the window and Domino twirling around my ankles. Walking around the Bottecelli exhibit in Florence pushing a stroller with aÂ sleeping Evan at age 4. Pulling a sheet of chocolate chip cookies from the oven on a fall Saturday evening with a house full of people after a Florida football game. Sitting beside my mother before they take her to surgery, she isÂ dopey and goofy. Being tipsy with Debbie on Thanksgiving, cooking and talking. Walking with Traci around her neighborhood, her children ahead of us on their way to school. Being a preteen and riding in the back seat of my big sister’s Ford Pinto, headed to McDonalds. Bouncing on the trampoline with the Herrington kids. Sitting at the point at the trailer park on Plantation Key, slightly sunburned with a tummy full of the day’s catch of lobster.
Moments of love. Points of contact. Connection to people I love and have deeply embedded in the matrix of my soul. They each become part of my essence. And that is my happiest place.