One Day To Live

"You are a total summation of everything you believe and see in the world," I said.

I was speaking to a small group recently, sharing my thoughts and ideas for the new year.

I went on to urge everyone to look for the opportunity to see life in the details.

"For having spent this time together today, we are now a little bit more than we were yesterday," I concluded. "You are now a part of me wherever I go."

As it happens after every talk I share, people come up to offer their kind words, general comments and ask a few questions.

From experience, I know that some will be brief and some, well they will dominate the little time I have until the next speaker takes the podium. I will make every attempt to speak to each person waiting even if I must take them out to the hallway in order to permit the meeting to go on.

Eye contact is key. I don't pretend to listen, I try to "see what they are saying."

At times I will also use my eyes to indicate that we need to wrap up so I can greet the next person.

I look away and past the person speaking with me a few times. I make eye contact with the people still patiently waiting and if necessary, I will hand signal an individual I see edging away, giving up the wait.

"Don't go!" I tell them. "I do want to speak with you!" is my last effort to politely end a conversation.

Keeping a promise I made to myself, I did speak with about a dozen people that day. As I was gathering my notes and adjusting my tie, I heard someone say, "It's also what you didn't see."

I looked around and saw no one. Shrugging it off, I continued my effort to collect myself.

I picked up my belongings and turned quickly, nearly running into a man standing directly behind me.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know you were there, my friend," I said.

"I didn't mean to startle you," he said. "I heard your talk."

"Oh, thanks for being there."

"It's also what you didn't see," he said.

Not having any idea what that meant, I looked over my glasses and paused for a second before asking, "What didn't I see?"

"You said, "You are a total summation of everything you believe and see in the world," he explained.

"Yes, I did."

"I believe it's more about what you don't see."

I shook my head affirming the notion and asked him to explain.

"Yes, it's easy to say that we need to see life in the details, but we must also learn what to look for."

He was right.

"So, we are what we choose to see," I said.

"Your job is to teach us what to look for," he added.

He then shook my hand, placed his hand on my shoulder, smiled and walked away.

I sat down and thought about what he said.

It's easy to see the light but we need to value the darkness, too. There you will find the lost and lonely who are always left behind.

Anyone can find a rose in a field of dandelions, praise its beauty and bathe in its perfume but who will see the value in what appears to be weeds?

We can celebrate the first one to cross the finish line, but who will see the magnificent effort of the one who finished last?

You can stand in awe of the master architects who built the Taj Mahal but who is moved by the maintenance workers who clean and shine it daily?

You can climb to the top of a mountain and pound your chest for having accomplished the feat. But who sees the miracle in the creation of both you and the mountain?

Yes, you are a total summation of all you believe, all you choose to see and all you don't.

Maybe God really gives us just one day to live, but many chances to see it differently.

What have you been missing?

~ Bob Perks ~

[ by: Bob Perks Copyright © 2007 ( -- {used with permission} ]

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