I was sitting in the hospital with my mother, who has just suffered a “cardiac event” which is not quite an acute heart attack, but not a celebratory situation either. Thank God for Blackberries in hospitals. You can communicate with lots of people easily, and feel connected—even as you sit in a darkened room late at night watching heart rates travel across the screen, which, frankly, can feel like watching sewing-machine stitches.
Anyway, I got an e-mail out of the blue from Jon Dorn, former Rodale employee and current friend. He had just seen a bumper sticker and had thought of me. It read:
Live like you’re going to die tomorrow. Farm like you’re going to live forever.
I thought about just how relevant his thoughts were. (And once again decided there really is no such thing as “out of the blue.”) If there is one thing I learned from my brother David’s sudden death from AIDS in 1985, and my father’s sudden death in a car crash in 1990, it’s that you never know WHAT the future will bring. So you may as well get the most out of each day and try to keep every relationship as positive and healthy as possible. Truly, once someone leaves this life, you can’t turn back the clock. So each moment needs to be lived fully, and with love—lots of love.
And if there is one thing I have learned from being a part of the Rodale heritage, it’s that we all need to “Farm like you’re going to live forever.” Whether it’s actual farming, gardening, what we chose to eat, or how we chose to live, our actions live on much longer than our bodies. Friends and family long deceased still have the power to hurt us or help us in how they lived their lives, just as all the chemicals people put into their land will linger much longer than the farmer.
I don’t know what the future will bring, other than I know there will always be things we don’t expect. But I do know that what I do each day matters and makes a difference—also in ways I don’t expect.
And in between the future and today, I’ll keep checking my Blackberry.