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OPINION: The Most Beautiful Thing

March 25, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Then there came a day when I would forever after be apart from Robin.

There have surely been so many sad and lonely days and nights and moments of despair but I had a thought. I thought about all the others who had before me experienced the same loss and I made a pledge to myself, the only one who openly doubted my resolve. I told myself that if those others had endured such a loss and lived out the rest of their years with courage and dignity, who was I to be less of a person. I could still have a life.

All of those obstacles placed in my path and every one of those joyous moments I now so very much treasure were nothing less than microcosms of life itself in its entirety. Those moments were merely brushed strokes on that canvass of life which, when blended together, form a finished painting, a beautiful masterpiece.

The symphony of life is played for each of us to enjoy. There are those among us who might favor the slow introduction, the Sonata-Allegro form. Others may find that the fourth movement in the Rondo form stirs their emotions more. The point is that each of us finds varying movements of a symphony, and yes life, to our liking, while other parts are less enjoyable. Nevertheless, both are beautiful in their own way, but nothing of beauty is without flaws and no beautiful thing in this world of ours can go on forever.

How could I appreciate the warm soft hue of a clear blue sky if I hadn't before seen the dark gray clouds that blocked out the sun? Would I smile as I wiped the tears of laughter from my cheeks if I had not once dabbed the tears of sadness from my face? May I not marvel and find love for life itself if there was no death?

I appreciate evening walks as the warm summer sun falls below the tree line. I find beauty in a crisply and accurately struck seven iron while playing golf. I am enamored by the darkened night sky that is adorned with tiny sprinkles of light.

I find beauty in the picturesque rolling tree-covered hills and their slopes as they fade into grass-covered pastures. There are those who may find these images not to their liking. There are those who may prefer the view of the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Broadway in New York City. To some, the recollection of that view may be a thing of beauty.

I acknowledge that, during my lifetime, I have been blessed with many friendships. Many of those I cared about have, through nothing more than the movement of time and natural forces, passed on. Some of those whom I called friends decided to hasten their departure from this world and dictate the moment of their death. I fault not those friends, for who am I to decide what lives in the minds of others. I must allow each and every person to have their own vision of life and yes, also of death.

The only thing better than one life is the sharing of two lives, but I am stingy. What little I have left of my life I can't share with anyone. I wish so deeply that it wasn't true but I now have to offer the truth, the painful truth. Alas, I am afraid of losing another friend and thusly, far too selfish to do that again.

No, I have, by no stretch of the imagination, lived a perfect life, no thing of beauty. I have made so many regrettable mistakes, far too many to dwell on. But through it all, and after all is said and done, I am so very, very grateful for the chance to live the life I've had. What a wonderful gift I was given! Life itself is truly a thing of beauty.

I am now in the final part of my time here with you. There have been times when I hated life and times when I loved and embraced it, but there is one thing that I now know for sure. Life, that great and wondrous journey we all take, is the most beautiful thing in the world.

Like a passenger on a runaway train and absent the means, save one very extreme measure, to stop that locomotive, I have decided to ride the train to the end of the tracks, whenever and wherever that last stop may be.

Life has been such an incredible thing of beauty and daring to consider it anything less would label me the most selfish person who ever lived. For some time now, I have been a captive of my sadness and, only in my dreams, have I seen how sweet life can be. Finally, I now find that, when I open those once-closed eyes, I can clearly see that most beautiful of things, life!

The inspiration for this story came to me from an unusual place. It came from a plaque. You know, one of those quaint sayings etched into a piece of wood that can be found hanging on a kitchen wall: "Life is not measured by the breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away."

I thought a lot about those words. I like the sentiment but I disagree with the idea that one's life can be measured.

You can't consider the first time you met your one true love with that of a serious illness. The birth of one's child cannot be given the same value as the death of a mother. Life is to be lived. It is to be experienced to the fullest and no measurement can be used to calculate life's value. Just live the life you've been given and appreciate its beauty, its great and wonderful beauty.

What is the most beautiful thing in the world? Life. No, not being alive, but the complete adventure from birth till death which I have come to know as life, that most precious of gifts. And now, well, now I pour my life on you.

Stan Fine is a retired police officer and Verizon Security Department investigator who, after retiring in 2006, moved from Tampa, Fla., to Noel. Stan's connection to Noel can be traced back to his grandparents who lived most of their lives there. Stan began writing after the passing of his wife Robin in 2013. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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