Are You Living?

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Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto

I found the following some time ago and saved it.  I wish I could give credit but the author is unknown to me.

What does it mean to have lived? Is living having a life determined by what we accumulate? If I have a “hot” car in my driveway, own a home with three extra bedrooms and a television the size of a drive-in movie screen, and live where a sea breeze blows through the tendrils of my perfectly colored, cut and coiffed hair does it mean I have lived more fully than the next? What if I don’t own anything, drive a “green” car, live in a rented modular home, hear owls and coyotes rather than seagulls and waves on my morning walk, drink tap water and Folgers rather than Pellegrino and Starbucks? 

Will I mean more to society if I join tax resentment “tea parties” rather than pay my fair share willingly; support the NRA rather than the EPA, wear diamonds rather than be a diamond in the rough; operate as a “compassionate conservative” rather than just being compassionate; support the booming plastic surgery industry rather than grow old gracefully; read Oprah and Dr. Phil instead of Steinbeck and Hemmingway; ignore the elderly rather than care for them; buy over-bred “pets” instead of rescuing abused and neglected animals?

Am I more loveable if I have the body of a top model or a playboy centerfold? Am I more entitled to find true love if I have never made any mistakes in life? Does the state of my wallet mean more than the depth of my character to the man of my dreams?

Is living defined by consuming or contributing?  Does being alive mean you gather things rather than experiences? Will the accumulation of wealth mean more in the end than offerings of generosity and love? Am I destined to just exist if I resist the temptations of getting rather than giving?

I can see the certainty of answers to these questions, hear a soft voice that encourages right rather than convenience, smell the freshness of humility over arrogance, taste the sweetness of generosity rather than greed, and feel the strength of compassion over cynicism.

Is living ignoring the needs and conditions of others or is it participating in your community, by voting for those who strive to help others rather than selfishly.

Will I be able to have the courage to go into the woods and build a deliberate life, to learn rather than preach, to exist simply with dignity, to learn to love myself so that others may follow, and to experience life as it is not as I desire it to be? And in the end will I be able to say that yes, I truly lived?

Dick Gale, President, Democrats of Hemet-San Jacinto

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