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Life is Precious

Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2024
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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5 Comments
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When I was a young parent, I read Dr. Seuss to my son and daughter, then relished watching them read those books – and others – to themselves. Precious moments. Life is precious.

That – together with a dose of whimsy, “imagination stretching,” a pocket full of hope, some crazy art, and no room for doubt – is what Dr. Seuss was all about. If Horton hears a Who, so can you. If Sam is, and says “Sam, I am,” then who are you? If the Cat in the Hat thinks funnily, why not?

Because life is precious, every second should be filled with it, or should fill it, or as Suess would say, “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so … get on your way!”

Put differently, a friend recently told me how, by chance one winter, his father fell through the lake ice. The event occurred  – now decades ago – when he was young. Together, they got him out, and life went on … but from that day forward, he knew something he had not before: Life is precious.

Yes, the life of a child conceived, nurtured, awaiting birth, just before and just after, is precious, vulnerable, dependent, and trusting before the word enters her vocabulary. Her life is precious.

As is the aging grandparent and great, buffeted by challenges to memory, mobility, and muscle function, who vaguely, wishfully, in that new-to-this-phase way, wonders about their value. True as ever before, sometimes far more, they are a treasure. Their life is precious.

The odd part about these statements is we all know them. Of course, life is precious. What else could it be? Yet, look around. How does the world treat life? As if it were not. I sometimes do, too.

We get up in the morning, and just assume these God-designed systems in us will work or can be fixed so they will work, never asking exactly how, by what genius of divine design, we are what we are.

We look at others as help or hindrance, teammate or foe, and on we go. How often do we think, for one fleeting second, “Oh my goodness, there goes another of God’s marvelous creations, with feelings, disappointments, battered hopes, quiet dreams, knowing joy and dread – like me.”

We sally into a store, restaurant, or meeting, across a populated park or parking lot, down a crowded street, and think about what we came for, what we want, what we need to say and not say, concern for obligations, loss of time, background thoughts on life’s randomness and crime.

What we seldom do is imagine that the others we see are just like us, looking out at the world, somewhat distracted, managing their own uneasy balance of wishes and worries, wanting to be slow but hurried, planning for a time when all is done, and then … they’ll be kind to everyone.

How infrequently we pause to ponder what we do not know – how those we pass are consumed, anxious, grieving, struggling with some decision or diagnosis, fretting about a home, job, child, or parent, trying not to disappoint, not to impose, and … how to remember the smell of a rose.

When do we remember that other lives, and ours, are precious, life itself is? When do we put aside the frenzy, down the phone, stop the folly? Often only with birth and death, hope and melancholy.

Sometimes we happen upon a sunny day, something that makes us look up, look away, ponder the past, those who have peopled our lives – and those who do now – and suddenly we see it all.

We stumble on an old book, an old nook, an old trail, a bit of writing, memories tucked into a forgotten spot or smell. Suddenly, we are brought up short, put under the “stopping spell,” to recall life is precious.

Wrote Dr. Seuss, creator of The Grinch, and Cindy Lou Who:  “How did it get so late so fast? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December before it’s June. My goodness, how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”

Maybe the greatest gift we can give and get is falling under that “stopping spell,” willing ourselves, while the sun is high and yet to set, that we, like he, shall not forget. Life is precious

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
26 days ago

Life is precious – it sure enough is ! The enthusiasm involved , especially when younger, and the accumulation of knowledge from the various experiences we have , the feeling of accomplishment from learning,. Still there is a certain amount of mystery that I do believe is good to have, and actually necessary in keeping a sort of balance between the physical, the mental and the spiritual. The paragraph you wrote Robert about the God-designed systems in us and by what genius of Divine design makes us what we are, is particularly thoughtful and has to do with that element of mystery. So living with a sense of purpose, having a code of conduct, based on the qualities of good character to guide us, and the things that bring love, joy, and the spirit of life are all things to be appreciated . Very important writing you did here Robert . Life is precious – that is the truth , being grateful for this life helps to give understanding to this journey we call life.

Melinda
Melinda
26 days ago

All you say is true, Robert. But still, we humans are rather self centered. Which is maybe how were supposed to be for survival. Maybe it is enough to have an occasional reminder of how precious life is (and it truly is). I’ve lived through enough in my 83 years to be well aware of that, but thank you for the occasional reminder.

Eileen
Eileen
26 days ago

Great article, it is told that Rev. James Kemp used Dr. Seuss in his sermons a lot to make the point of the child like faith our Lord called us to possess in order to receive the kingdom of God. In childhood dandelions, tadpoles and all kinds of bugs seem precious. Our view of such things change as we grow older. In our household, now, our adult children call themselves small game hunters when it comes to bugs.
Yet is was not Dr. Seuss that taught me how precious life is, it was our Lord Jesus and His willingness to go to the cross for such a wretch like me. It was “for God so loved the world that He sent His Only Son to die on the cross”. It was God’s sacrifice that showed me how precious life is. It was “Amazing Grace”.
It is the forgotten “Gospel” of truth that has harden the hearts of humanity. Growing up religious did not give me a sense of how precious life was and is. It was the gospel message to a lost soul that taught me such. It saddens me that this message is now considered politically incorrect, even racist.

uncleferd
uncleferd
26 days ago

Dr. Seuss was superbly creative, deeply caring, and wise. This is a wonderful article and reminder of him from Mr. Charles.
This article also provides some reminding of the cost of the struggles we deal with… and why we fight political enemies… so we can have more of the happiness and normalcy that we once knew, and that Dr. Seuss still provides a clear image of.

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