Consider the amazing conspiracy of circumstances working non-stop to keep you alive.
Without you having to do a thing, your heart beats and your lungs breathe. Even when you’re fast asleep, these two persistent rhythms quietly manifest themselves, keeping the machine-that-is-you running.
Most of the time, your injuries heal and your illnesses surrender again to good health.
Conclusion: your body wants you to live.
Gravity holds you to the earth. The sun warms you. Phytoplankton and trees offer up oxygen for you. Plants and animals feed you. The sky gives you water to drink.
Conclusion: the universe sustains you.
These are pretty awesome powers that seem to be concerned with making sure you have the things you need to stay alive.
Of course, you can’t realistically ignore the forces at work in the world that might just take your life: tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, poisonous plants and creatures, viruses and bacteria, and even a small fraction of human beings with bad intent. Add to this list countless random incidents and accidents that wait around every corner with the potential to injure or kill you, and you’re compelled to reckon with the unpleasant fact that there are plenty of threats out there.
Conclusion: the world is sometimes a dangerous place and, on any given day, remaining alive is not a guarantee.
Furthermore, whenever you pass by a cemetery, you’re reminded that there will come a day when your heart and lungs will stop expanding and contracting, regardless of any contrary plan you may have. So, even if you evade death by natural disaster, deadly stings or bites, homicide, or any of a thousand careless human blunders … you’re still going to die when your body decides it’s had quite enough.
Conclusion: we’re all going to die.
These truths make up the fulcrum upon which our lives are balanced.
I’m thankful that my body keeps on ticking (despite the fact that I haven’t always treated it well). So far, it’s seen me through more than 60 years of life. Maybe I should do a better job of caring for it, you know, to show my appreciation.
I’m thankful that the universe continues to operate as it does, constantly providing the things I need to live. I try not to take for granted the sun’s rising or the downpouring of rain beneath a harvest moon. I want to remain aware of the marvels of plant and animal life and how they contribute every day to my being alive.
I’m in awe of the ocean and the night sky. I’m astonished at the inexplicable variety of living things crawling, slithering, swimming, flying, and walking upon this amazing planet we call home.
I want to keep my mortality in mind as I go about my daily life. Life is uncertain and fragile. I want that to motivate me to live my best life. To love myself and others better. To prodigiously forgive myself and others.
Conclusion: let’s squeeze every drop of deliciousness out of the grapefruit that is our one earthbound life.