There are times in our lives when we feel life isn't going the way we want it to.
We have financial concerns, our jobs aren't fulfilling, the boss annoys us. The kids may be at an age where they are a handful and are trying our patience daily.
Perhaps our favourite team isn't doing well in the playoffs. The car needs more work and we hum and haw about fixing it or replacing it.
The house needs updating; the dog is chewing on the furniture; the cat horks up hairballs left and right.
But when you look at the big picture of life, those things are just tiny problems. Those are grains of sand.
When you look at the big picture, what really counts is the love you give to the people who matter to you. The family members you hold dear; the friends you hold close.
Perhaps you are blessed with a family who love each other dearly and get along well, congregating just to be together. And you hug each other when you see each other and tell each one how much they mean to you.
You have a few close friends in your life. Those you have known for almost all of your life and whom you have kept close to your heart despite time and distance. And the ones nearby who have become such good friends in a short time that you know you are destined to be best friends for life.
There are those in your life who struggle with personal crises that involve health and life. There are those whose families are grasping at the fragility of life, who know love is what counts and give freely and intensely and without thought to themselves.
There are those you have never met but have developed a connection with through the interweb fibers that tie the universe together. Those who feel the support and caring of those who are strangers in face only, because the hearts shine through.
For all of those that I am fortunate enough to count as family, I love you all immensely.
For those whom I have never met but with whom I have made that long distance connection, know that my heart aches with every hurt you experience and wishes there was more I could do. I fervently hope that all eventually works out in your favour and life returns to a balance that works for you and your families.
To those who have become my closest of friends, I am so proud to be a friend to you and love you dearly.
And one who is becoming a close friend... PJ... you too are special to me. You have been there for me, unasked, when I needed a shoulder to cry on. Thank you for that.
Because life is an unknown quantity, please show those you love that you care for them and tell them they mean everything to you. There are no guarantees in life. There are no certainties, other than being born, living in some capacity for some length of time, and then the journey here on earth ends.
There has been far more than my share of heartaches and losses in the half century I have spent on this planet. And it seems to have made my heart bigger, more caring, more capable of reaching out.
And that can only be a good thing.