Like most things in life, having a computer is a mixed blessing. I found 87 e-mails on mine when I returned home from a two-week absence recently. About 90 percent of them were "forwards" from various friends, relatives and mere acquaintances on whose e-mail list my name resides.
I don't really like having to wade through a bunch of jokes, plaintive stories, tired platitudes, poems, uplifting sermons, urban myths, dire warnings and political propaganda every time I sign on. However, many people obviously get a kick out of hitting the "forward" key and passing these things on to everybody in their computer address book. Sociologists must be having a wonderful time analyzing this curious behavior that has defined communication via the Internet so uniquely.
I'm occasionally tempted to respond to this unsolicited cyberjunk with a plea to be dropped from the sender's list, but I don't. Why? Because once in a while I get something really great. I've learned that certain of my correspondents tend to pass on only truly pertinent information, truly funny jokes and truly touching, thought-provoking stories. I know I can depend on them for a pause that refreshes.
Like this one that was buried in those 87 e-mails I just received. Maybe it has made the rounds, and you've seen it, but for those who haven't, here it is. It was written by an 83-year-old woman to her friend, according to original sender, whose identity is lost in the maze of fiberoptics.
"I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.
"I'm not saving anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first amaryllis bloom. I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank. "Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.
"I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted. I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or whatever.
"It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath is a gift from God."
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