Monday, March 01, 2010

A Successful Life



Beth at Walk-a-Mile inspired me to write this post. She asked about our lives in relation to the following quote, and I decided the best way to answer her question is to follow her lead and address the points in this quote:

To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give one's self; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived...This is to have succeeded
*Ralph Waldo Emerson*

to appreciate beauty: um, yes! Life is beautiful: nature, colors, people, love, friendships, art, quilts, flowers, mountains, photographs, the human spirit. I appreciate it and am so thankful for it all.

to find the best in others: I try! I have had to overcome a natural bent to be too judgmental. It’s an ongoing battle. At the same time, I believe people are good at heart. Each person is a child of God. So I try to remind myself of this, to try to stave off the judgments that pop into mind.

to give one’s self: yes! This is my life! A mom, wife, an educator (not a teacher, but in the system working for similar goals), a generous quilter, an active member of a church and its mission/outreach ideals… this defines my life.

to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition: I have two grown children who are wonderful human beings. I am so proud of who they are (not claiming much credit here) and love them to the moon and back. I am happy that the world has been blessed by their presence. Now I have a fabulous daughter-in-law in the mix, too. What a sweetheart! I’m not much of a gardener; I would love to leave a legacy of a redeemed social condition, but I’m afraid I find them all so daunting and difficult. I do my part and constantly wish I could do more.

to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation: if you know me, yes! I love to laugh and have fun. As for singing, I do it with gusto, with apologies to those who stand in front of me at church.

to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived: oh, I am so humbled by the gifts given to me by my students over the years. I think I have touched a few lives in positive ways, and they have definitely paid that back a thousand fold. And then there is my husband. We are a wonderful team. We help and fulfill each other. I am so lucky!!

I would say I have succeeded. I'm still working on life, but if I die tomorrow, I can feel OK about my efforts to this point. Life is good! I thank God for my wonderful, blessed, lucky, charmed life!!

5 comments:

Jo said...

Oh, what a beautiful post.

I do think you have had a successful life, judging from your criteria. It's the most any of us can ask for, isn't it?

Our legacy is not material things, but the way we have touched other people's lives.

Megs said...

Hmmm... I recognize that picture! It's a statue of "Hands of Cooperation, Healing and Faith" at St Peter & St Paul Cathedral, in Ennis, Ireland! :)

Nettie said...

Hey Carol. Great post. Good reminder.
Need a "G" book? Read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. An unexpected pleasure. Check it out.

BrendaLou said...

Carol...you are such a well-rounded person...successful at it too. You are a self-proclaimed nut (I'd just call you fun!) and yed such a deep thinker and I love the way you constantly look inside yourself to see where you measure up to your own high standards. you are a person I admire.

BrendaLou said...

PS--I loved the Potato Peel & literary society. If you'd like to read it let me know and I'll send it to you.