A note on this article:  Soraya passed on about a year after writing these words, a victim of breast cancer, at the age of 37.  An amazingly talented singer and songwriter, she left behind a legacy of hope and love that few can match, especially at her young age.  Visit for more information.

The tragedy of the tsunami that hit South Asia this past December, the pain and suffering surrounding the Terri Schiavo story, and even the recent death of Pope John Paul II have all inspired me to re-evaluate my own existence. Like many others that have been through a life-threatening illness, I took this journey a few years back after my cancer diagnosis. But I must constantly check myself to make sure that I do not get lost and forget the valuable lessons that that hardship and pain taught me. The only certainty we can count on is the uncertainty of life. Twists and turns come without warning, and all that we perceive to be true can change in a fleeting instant.

I think of the tourists sitting on the beach, looking out at the vast Indian Ocean, watching their kids play in the sand. Then, in a few short, terrifying moments, all is gone. I think of the villagers, those that survived, wading through the muck searching for their lost lives. The "I should have"s or "I wish I had"s do not exist anymore. There is no time for a warm hug, a long gaze, or another "I love you." The tomorrow they had envisioned will never come. That time is gone.

I think of Terri Schiavo. I look at the picture of her before the heart attack that began her demise.  How beautiful she was.

Then I see the picture seen by millions around the world, the one with the blank look and open mouth. In the prime of her youth, why would she have thought to prepare a living will? She was young and vibrant with a long, healthy life ahead of her. But in a brief moment, all of that changed. Her tomorrow became encapsulated in a hospital bed with an endless stream of minutes flowing agonizingly into themselves. She is now physically gone, and we will never know how much she suffered nor what her wishes truly were. Her family is left shattered while she is now finally resting. The tomorrow they were all looking forward to dissolved the day she lost consciousness.

I think of Pope John Paul II. Having seen Parkinson's disease and life's time clock break down someone very close to me, I breathed a sigh of relief when the pope passed. He had a full life. He accomplished much. His passing is a joyous occasion. Death is inevitable, and it should be welcomed at the end of a good life. Sometimes tomorrow comes just as it should.

We have become so attached that we forget that all we love, all we have, all we aspire to be is on loan. Life and love are gifts for us to cherish and treasure, but they are gifts that can go away without warning. That is what makes love so intense. That is what makes life a miracle. The uncertainty of tomorrow is what should inspire us to appreciate the here and now.

Youth tricks us into thinking that we can prepare and plan. Fresh faces think that time is on their side and nothing will ever go wrong. Tomorrow, they think. There is always tomorrow. I don't have to think about that now. I'll tell him how I really feel about him some other day. Maybe next year I'll go get a check-up. I'll take care of that later. I'll say thanks to my mom next weekend. Tomorrow it'll be fine.

But when tomorrow came for me, I ended up sitting in front of my doctor in a peach-colored gown hearing from him that my life was no longer what I thought it would be. When tomorrow came for the families of the tsunami victims, they were searching for bodies and cleaning up the rubble that was once their homes. When tomorrow came for Terri Schiavo, she could no longer express her emotions or thoughts. When tomorrow came for Pope John Paul II, he must have felt relief to be freed from the body that had failed him.

Take a moment to think about all that you put aside until tomorrow. Call your mom or dad. Make amends with an estranged friend. Spend a long moment holding your child and memorizing every turn in his or her face. Make time to take care of yourself. Turn off the television and have a conversation with a loved one.

When you love knowing that love is a gift, when you know that your body is your temporary gift in this lifetime, when you realize that none of our material possessions matter nor remain with us when the loan is called in, that is when you are freed to truly live.

more on today

No One Else

It came out of nowhere and shot through my heart
Time stood still as my world fell apart
Four simple words, turned me upside down
As my life was spinning, I reached for steady ground

With an army in my soul, soldiers of love, warriors of faith
Fighting a battle against the enemy with no face

I am breathing once again
Time has shown me the power of my strength
This journey is an ever-winding road
I will walk it proud, tall and strong
And as I知 standing face to face with myself
I thank the Lord I知 no one else

There were days filled with anger, and nights lost in tears
I searched for courage in spite of the fear
In the midst of the madness, I found a quiet space
simple moments, a tender embrace

I am breathing once again
Time has shown me the power of my strength
This journey is an ever-winding road
I will walk it proud, tall and strong
And as I知 standing face to face with myself
I thank the Lord I知 no one else

From a drop of compassion, flowed a river of love
I drank from its waters and swam through the flood
In my darkest hour, when I could barely see
I found the essence of a woman I never dreamed I could be

I am breathing once again
Time has shown me the power of my strength
This journey is an ever-winding road
I will walk it proud, tall and strong
And as I知 standing face to face with myself
As I知 standing face to face with myself, with myself. . .
I thank the Lord I知 no one else

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As yesterday is history, and tomorrow may never come, I have
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and save my digestion by thinking pleasantly.

Robert Louis Stevenson


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Most mornings when I awake, I am pleasantly surprised to find
I知 still alive.  On occasion I have been known to wake up
mean and irritable, but even then I can choose not to stay
that way.  Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may not come.
Today is the only slot of time I really have.  What a shame
to blow it.  I want to make today the very best possible. . . .
Before I crawl out of bed, I thank the Lord for another day
and ask for strength.  Maybe I知 to clean the house, or
work at the office, or talk with a friend over lunch.
The tasks aren稚 the issue; my attitude is.

Marabel Morgan