By Eric Handler
This summer, I received an intense reminder of how quickly life can turn, change, and never be the same again. It happens in an instant, without any warning, and it has the potential to shift everything.
My family and I were staying with close friends on a small Fiji island, so small that there’s no way to get on or off the island unless it’s pre-arranged. The house was beautiful, but the balcony surrounding its perimeter had quite a drop. My wife and I both looked at it worriedly on the first day, knowing that a kid could fall through pretty easily.
A few nights later, our worry came to life.
Our oldest daughter, Jemma, sprinted in from the balcony screaming, “Jolie fell off the deck!” I could tell from her eyes that she wasn’t kidding.
Sure enough, my daughter Jolie, nearly three years old, was lying on the ground twenty feet below. She was not moving. My first thought was the worst nightmare for any parent. “She’s dead. She’s dead. She’s dead.”
I don’t remember much of what followed. How I screamed. How fast I ran. All I know is that, by grace of a miracle, Jolie was alive. There were tears. Praying. Uncertainty. But ultimately it was a miracle. She was going to be fine.
The following day, I was obsessed with worry. Worry over what didn’t happen. It was my dear friend and teacher, Guru Singh, who halted all my thoughts and said, “Stop that. You are focusing on what didn’t happen. What didn’t happen is an illusion. What did happen is a miracle.” To this day, that truth is instilled inside of me. My daughter lived through a miracle, and all I should do is appreciate every moment with her.
That experience changed my definition of the word “meaningful.” We’re born into this place, we grow up, and we get so distracted with life. Real meaning, found in the little moments spent with one another, gets pushed aside for seemingly more important things.
This very moment is meaningful to me. The breath in my lungs: meaningful. The health of my two little girls and wife: meaningful. The fact that we had one another yesterday: meaningful. The fact that we have one another today: meaningful. Nothing else is guaranteed. Nothing else is sure to be here tomorrow. For that reason, I’m acknowledging the miracle of life more fully today.
***Eric Handler is the co-founder of Positively Positive, an online multimedia platform known for its creative content designed to inspire readers to live fully and connected and to ignite the fire inside of them. [www.positivelypositive.com]