Someone sent this story to me this morning while I was working on this week’s column; it is a lesson for all of us:

A friend of mine opened his wife’s underwear drawer and picked up a silk paper wrapped package:

‘This, – he said – isn’t any ordinary package.’

He unwrapped the box and stared at both the silk paper and the box.

‘She got this the first time we went to New York, 8 or 9 years ago. She has never put it on, was saving it for a special occasion.

Well, I guess this is it.

He got near the bed and placed the gift box next to the other clothing he was taking to the funeral house, his wife had just died.

He turned to me and said: ‘Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion’.

I still think those words changed my life.

Now I read more and clean less.

I sit on the porch without worrying about anything.

I spend more time with my family, and less at work.

I understood that life should be a source of experience to be lived up to, not survived through.

I no longer keep anything.

I use crystal glasses every day….

I’ll wear new clothes to go to the supermarket, if I feel like it.

I don’t save my special perfume for special occasions; I use it whenever I want to.

The words ‘Someday…’and ‘ One Day….’are fading away from my dictionary.

If it’s worth seeing, listening or doing, I want to see, listen or do it now….

I don’t know what my friend’s wife would have done if she knew she wouldn’t be there the next morning, this nobody can tell. I think she might have called her relatives and closest friends. She might call old friends to make peace over past quarrels. I’d like to think she would go out for Chinese, her favorite food. It’s these small things that I would regret not doing, if I knew my time had come.. Each day, each hour, each minute, is special.

Live for today, for tomorrow is promised to no one.

Not one hour before I sat down to work on this week’s effort, I had stopped for breakfast at a little diner in the town where I am working this morning. The waitress was smiling and very pleasant and seemed to really be into her job in spite of the early hour. I commented on her demeanor and told her that sometimes it was rare to see someone in such a good mood in these times.

She told me that she didn’t always feel like being happy or pleasant, but she felt it was a part of her job and she felt fortunate to have a job at all even if it was hard. I asked if she had kids and she told me that she had four. I always carry silver dollars around with me, so I gave her my last two and told her to give them to the ones whose birthdays were the closest. Her eyes misted over and she told me she already had two that someone else had given her and so now she had enough.

She started to walk away and then came back and laid one of the dollars on the table. ‘ I can only use three’ one of my sons just we won’t have any more birthdays for him.’

I handed it back to her and told her to find someone to give it to, they are just silver dollars, but lots of kids have never seen one, it’s really no big deal. She picked u the coin and put it in her pocket and smiled and we talked about the questions we want to ask God when we get to heaven. Or maybe we won’t, who knows’ Maybe they’ll be answered for us, or maybe we won’t care anymore.

The point was for this lady and me is exactly what is in the story at the beginning of this column, we never know what today or tomorrow will bring to us. None of us, no matter how young or old should live our lives as if we had all the time in the world left to us. The truth is, we don’t know what will happen to us tomorrow or next week, let alone this afternoon. We should enjoy today, open those gifts, wear that special dress, use that china, drink from that old cup your grandfather gave you.I think he’d be thrilled that you did.

Most of all tell your kids, friends and your parents how much you love them and appreciate them. We don’t know what the future holds for us, so we need to do the best we can to be the best we could before it’s too late.