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Contentment in Your Moments

It was August 2010. Dad had endured a rough four months of treatment for his cancer, but this was a good month. He had gotten some of his strength back. He was the Pop that everyone knew and loved. August was special because he had the ability to do two things that he loved most, build a wheelchair ramp for someone in need with his best friend, Marshall, and go fishing with me. We arrived at one of our favorite fishing holes, grabbed our equipment, and headed for the boat that was always there waiting for us. I could tell some things were harder for my dad. Navigating the uneasy terrain and getting into the boat revealed the price his body had paid for ninety days of cancer treatment. But my dad was there; he was present. It was a great day. The weather cooperated, and we started catching fish the moment we put our hooks in the water. I promised myself I wasn’t going to bring up anything negative to do with his treatment or cancer. But he chose to. Dad turned to me. “You know how everyone thinks I am taking all of this so well? Well, for one, the truth is it’s hard. It hurts. But two, what looks like me taking all of this in stride is really me learning to be content in all things. No matter what happens from here, I have joy in the life I have lived. I am fully content and at peace.” Okay, I was trying to enjoy fishing without crying, but he sure was making it hard. “Dad, you know you are the one who taught me to embrace my moments. I know you always hear me telling people to be present, to be here now. Well, that was you. That is part of your legacy to me and the rest of the family.” He smiled that crooked, million-dollar smile I remember seeing for the first time when I was six years old, and then he put a different bait on his line. “Don’t forget the most important part”, he said, “the contentment. A lot of people are present in their moments, but they are present with their frustration, anger, fears, and hate. The key to a happy life is knowing how to be in the moment and be content with it. Then you just keep repeating that.” (excerpt from the book, We Are All Fireflies).

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