by Dr. Glenn Clearie

Everyone enjoys a good celebration. This past weekend we celebrated Independence Day. Getting together with families, friends and loved ones and sharing good times is important. It seems as though we do not celebrate enough with our fast-paced, high-tech lives. We need to slow down and “smell the roses.” The days are fleeting. We need to enjoy and celebrate each breath we are given as we only get so many. As the years move along, I truly find enjoyment in celebrating both large and small events.

As a country, we set aside certain days and times to celebrate and remember. We celebrate Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and many more holidays, rightfully so.

But what about our personal celebrations? We need to revel in these as well, don’t we? While the country may not set off fireworks, we can raise a glass and celebrate that which oftentimes defines us.

Without much fanfare, I celebrated a 22nd year anniversary with my beautiful wife Stacey. We dated for ten years prior to getting married. This year my eldest daughter Jacqueline graduated high school and our family celebrated together and prayed over her future. Just a few days ago, I celebrated my 46th birthday. Time sure goes fast. Not much fireworks for any of the above events but there were lots of kisses and happy tears.

When I think of the deepest level of celebrating, I turn my attention to my Christian faith. I am so thankful for salvation, for mercy, for grace. I celebrate forgiveness on a daily basis. I celebrate each and every heartbeat that I have. I bet you feel the same way.

As I write this week’s column, I am overcome with emotion at being told that a childhood friend recently overdosed on drugs. I haven’t seen Renee since I was 17, but the years came flooding back and I can clearly see her bright blue eyes and blond hair. I remember her well. When I was ten years old I wiped out on this girl’s “banana-seat” bike and broke the handle bars. She cried so much that I cried too. Partly because I broke her bike and partly because my knees were scraped. At age 12, this girl taught my brother and I how to slow dance. It didn’t feel awkward at all. She was our best friend. That same summer she taught us all the words to the 1970’s song “Kung Fu Fighting.” I still laugh when I hear that song. When we were 13 we played hide and seek with her Great Dane. We also picked blackberries for hours in the woods near our homes. Fond memories. I am deeply saddened by her passing. Although she is gone, I celebrate her life and the way she impacted my tender young years. She will not be forgotten. With all this being said, my hope is that you also will celebrate life. Celebrate where you came from. Celebrate the lives you touch and the ones who have touched you. Do not squander love, kindness or generosity. Laugh a lot-celebrate the gift of life! Peace and joy be with you all.


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