As another year comes to an end, I reflect on what matters most in life.
As I age, every year of life is a little more precious. Every moment, a little more touching. Every day, something to savor. And after loss, life’s moments become even more treasured.
The week before Thanksgiving, I lost my brother-in-law, my oldest sister’s husband. He and my sister have hosted our “Donnie Cain Turkey Bowl Classic,” at their home on Thanksgiving Day, for several years. It’s a holiday tradition, a flag football game, involving dozens of nieces, nephews and cousins, in honor of my late dad, who was a Worldwide Air Force halfback.
It is a way for us to remember Dad and celebrate the time we had with him. This year, after my brother-in-law died, we postponed the football game. But we will always cherish the kindness he showed our family, as he and my sister, invited 70-plus family members into their home during the holidays, and created memories, none of us will ever forget.
When it is all said and done, what matters most, in my life, are the same things many of us cherish: faith, family and friends.
I asked some of my Facebook friends to share “What Matters Most” to them. Janet LeMay Fullen wrote, “Nothing in this world matters more than loved ones. Not jobs, not possessions.”
Many others echoed that theme: “My children. My grandchildren. Parents. Husband. Wife. Spending time with family.” Sherry McCluskey Boles concluded that, “Love is what matters most.” Cindy Loos Wineinger wrote, “Appreciation for life and those loved ones that give you daily support and encouragement,” especially after she faced a life-threatening condition.
Connie Hardesty Maxwell shared that she just finished a fight with breast cancer, and added, “My life changed in many ways, but the love of God, family and friends, sustained me. God should be No. 1 in everyone’s life, but health, family and friends are also important.”
Ron Stone continued, “What matters most… is my faith in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
And others spoke of “giving to others” and “community” as important, with Jason Schroeder and his wife opening a new homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Lafayette. He said, “I’m tired of seeing the marginalized and disenfranchised, amongst us, suffer.”
There were also others who, like me, recently lost a loved one. Kat Armstrong confided that her Dad, her best friend, died this week and, she remarked, “At first, I told myself, I didn’t know what to do without him. But I DO know. I just hold the rest of my family tight and cherish the ones I still have with me, physically, even more.”
When I ask, “What Matters Most,” I am amazed that across race, creed and color, we are all more alike than different – driven to connect, to care, and to love. Our humanity defines and shapes us, no matter what our background. If we focus on what matters most, we create a better world.
You can email comments to Angela Cain at email@example.com.