Through Irish Eyes: Life is a gift to be enjoyed

By: Helen Bale
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Life should be enjoyed, not endured. This I firmly believe, for life itself is a precious gift from God. And when the end of earthly life comes, as it must for us all, we are fortunate to be able to hear the words of Matthew, “well done, good and faithful servant.” And there are so many things to enjoy. Of course there are low spots in living life. How else could we really enjoy the high ones? Very high on my list of enjoyments are friends and family. The people whose lives touch mine. I can’t name them all, lest I inadvertently omit some, but they are there — have been for all of my 87 years of life. We all make a difference, whether by something we do, or fail to do. I remember when I drove for the Red Cross. It made a difference when I showed up to collect a patient for a visit to the doctor’s office sometimes as far away as San Francisco. It also made a difference when I couldn’t make the trip and there was a scramble to supply another driver or reschedule the appointment. It all made a difference. There are enjoyments, too, in the world about us. Bright flowers bring joy to the eye, fragrance to the nose and a calm peace to the soul. Of course the machinery of war has devastated many lands. So many flee their homes, taking only what they can carry. Surely something to be endured. But there is enjoyment, too, in the hope for a better life, in the sharing that hope with others. I can’t defend the mentality that leads a nation to invade another and bring death and destruction. Why does God allow it? Perhaps the answer is that we are not robots, that God allows us free choice, for better or worse. I know only that my family has long been on the helping and giving side. I remember as a child during the Great Depression watching while my mother prepared a meal for the less fortunate who came to the door. Often it would be topped with a bit of cake or pie, “they need it,” mom would say. And their grateful smiles confirmed she had done the right thing. It warmed our hearts, too, to have shared. I think back over more than seven decades to the animals that have shared our lives. I recall Sam the Ram, probably the largest sheep ever to be taken in to be shorn. Sam hated being shorn. He seemed to know when we urged him into the back of the pickup that his was a losing battle. Pounds lighter, he crouched in a corner of the barn to try to hide his nudity. Sam didn’t go down the hill with the others each day, but skulked in a corner until they were out of sight each morning, and dashed for cover when he heard them returning in late afternoon. Sam was a greedy soul who ended his days trapped in the feed bucket –– a happy ending for him. There are so many things to enjoy in life, my friends. Don’t simply endure. Life is good, a gift from God in the smile and chortle of a baby and the achievements of adults. We all make a difference. Enjoy! Helen Bale’s column appears occasionally in the Journal.