Friday, March 10, 2006

A life that matters


Life is to be lived. No excuses. No reservations. No holding back. An enchanting story about violinist Fritz Kreisler tells how he once came across a beautiful instrument he wanted to acquire. When he finally raised the money for the violin, he returned to buy it and learned that it had already been sold to a collector. He went to the new owner's home in order to try to persuade him to sell the violin. But the collector said it was one of his prized possessions and he could not let it go.

The disappointed Kreisler turned to leave, but then asked a favor. "May I play the instrument once more before it is consigned to silence?" Permission was granted and the great musician began to play. The violin sang out a quality of music so beautiful that the collector himself could only listen in wonderment. "I have no right to keep that to myself," he said after the musician finished. "The violin is yours, Mr. Kreisler. Take it into the world, and let people hear it."

William Arthur Ward said, "If you believe in prayer, pray; if you believe in serving, serve; if you believe in giving, give." For you and I are exquisite violins -- our music is meant to be heard.

I want to live my life that way -- to take it into the world and live it fully. I'd rather burn out than rust out. I'd rather be used up than die not having done whatever I could...wherever I would. I'm not talking about wearing ourselves out on over-activity. Happiness is never found in excessive busyness. But it is found in investing our lives in others. Saying YES when asked for a hand. Volunteering some time for a worthwhile organization. Spending an hour with a lonely relative.

In the end, I know that my happiness will not have been about my ability or my inability. It will have been about my availability. My life is meant to be lived.


It's true how we often take our lives for granted and live it only when it's almost too late to do so. With Les' demise I realized how each moment is indeed meant to be lived to the fullest. We shouldn't take it for granted. We need to exhaust the breathe out of life and live a life that is meant to be lived. It's sad that it took the death of a friend to be reminded of that. I realized that in the end, our titles and riches do not really matter-- if you live a life well and you are loved, then you matter.

Reese Witherspoon said in her oscar acceptance speech that we all yearn to matter in this life. And I think she's right. When you matter, you are alive. Sometimes we may not matter to the person we want but I guess it's not always about getting what you want. Sometimes people just don't see you the way you see them. And though it may be sad, you learn to love them anyway.

I want to live my life knowing that I have loved. I want to live a life that matters. I want to live a life that means something.

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