There are things I do willingly, things I do hesitantly,
things I do begrudgingly, and things I won’t do at all. This morning I threw
away a toothpaste tube. I refuse to call
it an empty toothpaste tube, because as we all know, a toothpaste tube is never
really empty. You can always go back to the crimped end and knead and cajole
enough from the tube to at least partially fill your toothbrush one more time.
And after you’re sure you’ve gotten every last bit out of the tube, you can go
back and do it again.
I’m hesitant to throw the tube away. I know that someday I may find the tube
I’m trying to use really is empty, and I will be haunted with the grim reality
that the tube with one more brush full, or partial brush full in it, is now
buried in a landfill somewhere north of Modoc. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m
sure it could.
I operate a
small construction company, and last week we started building a new home up the
road. I’m normally hesitant to start a new project like that so late in the year,
with Indiana winters being what they are, or what they can be, but times being
what they are, it seemed like a prudent idea to use the good weather days, and
even some not so good weather days, to get the home, and ourselves, enclosed
for the bad weather days that are bound to get here.
As much as I enjoy my work, I can’t deny the
outdoors part of it is a little less enjoyable when the temperature gets below
30 and the wind gets above it. And while I might tend to step out of the door
in the morning a little more hesitantly, I hope I never do it begrudgingly.
fall, there was a lot of news coverage about a young woman in Oregon who had
been diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer, and decided to end her life
through an assisted suicide before the cancer could end it for her. I certainly
won’t deny that she had the right to make the decision she made. The right to
control our own lives is one of the most basic rights we have. But I wouldn’t
have made the same decision, even begrudgingly. Admittedly, I haven’t been
diagnosed with a terminal illness, yet, but with or without an illness, I
realize life itself is terminal.
If our lives
were divided into seasons, I’m probably in the late autumn or early winter
stage, missing a lot of my hair, but happy to still have most of my teeth. I
have a few aches and pains that come along with 62 years, and people who know
have told me those aches and pains will become more numerous as more time
passes. But I also have my parents, and my wife, and my children and
grandchildren, and a whole bunch of family and friends that I look forward to
seeing at least a few more times.
So I’m going
to get as much toothpaste as I can out of the tube, and then try for a little
more. And I’m going to work every day that I can this month, so that I’ll have
some place to work next month. And I’m going to do all I can to hang around as
long as I can, because of all of those people I want to see again.
And when a
higher power decides it’s my time to go, I will, but not without trying to
squeeze a little more out of things before I go.