Posts Tagged ‘Emily Dickinson’

Life is for the Living

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Life is for the Living

Written by Tony Mussari
Photographs by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright 2012, Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD
All Rights Reserved

I’ve got nothing to do today but smile. Simon & Garfunkel

One of the goals of our Face of America project was to demonstrate that one can live a full life after open heart surgery.

Five years ago this day, Operating Room 4 at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital was my home. The fact that I am writing this note indicates that Dr. Michael Harostock and the members of the surgical team who helped him performed my quadruple bypass surgery did a good job.

During the past five years, I tried to make the most of the opportunities I had to help others and serve my community.  I tried to be a good friend to those who sought my friendship. I tried to produce television programs and tell stories that would help people find examples of hope, inspiration and service. I made a commitment to do at least one kind act every day. I worked in quiet ways to refine the gifts of forgiveness, tolerance and understanding. I realized a childhood dream to travel the highways of our country searching for the greatness of America. I tried to be a good steward of Windsor Park.

Most important, every day I try to be a good husband to Kitch, father to my children and grandfather to Julia and P.J.

On the good days when I am successful, I feel a peaceful kind of joy. On the bad days when I don’t quite measure up to the standard, I remind myself that I can and must do better. Every day, I learn something that helps me to grow in ways that would make my parents proud. I gain strength and comfort from the words of George Bernard Shaw:

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

The Blessings of a Second Chance at Life

For the past five years, I have enjoyed the blessings of a second chance at life. For that I am more thankful than any words can express.

In 2007, my near death experience taught me some invaluable things about life.

Life is what you make it, not what others give you.  Make it a good experience. The words of Ralph Waldo Emerson apply:

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Life is not always kind. There are many disappointments, but disappointment is the mother of opportunity. Margret Mitchell’s words are prophetic:

Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.

Life is about humility. Not the humility of the saints, but the humility of the heart makes you realize that you are not the center of the universe. To paraphrase the words of Khaled Hosseini:

It is better to be hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.

Life is short, and it is about slow progress:

Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat. Ralph Ellison

We have to be content with slow progress. Fr. Joe Grizone

Life is about giving, not taking. Give generously and thoughtfully of your time and your talents when you can. One of our greatest minds gave truth to these words:

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. Albert Einstein

Life is about looking forward. Don’t look back with regret. Move forward with resolve.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride! Hunter S. Thompson

A meaningful life is about caring in genuine ways about family, friends and country. Emily Dickinson’s advice always wins the day:

If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.

Life is for the living. Live it fully, because you may not get a second chance:

Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted. Sylvia Plath

Life is a monument to friendship. Without friendships deeply rooted in caring, gratitude,loyalty and sharing, life is empty:

Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing. Elie Wiesel

Life is about courage translated into daily practice.  Do the right thing for the right reason:

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. Anais Nin

Life is about disappointment, discouragement and despair. Don’t Give Up!

When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way. Paulo Coelho

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today life goes on, and it will be better tomorrow. Maya Angelou

The words of Langston Hughes summarize the most important lesson I learned on June 12, 2007:

Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.
Langston Hughes

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