Do you know the value of life?

Though posted on the last day of November, I assume most of you will be reading this post on Tuesday, December 1st – the start of the official countdown to Christmas.

It seems once again that time has escaped me as 2015 comes to a close.

With every year I grow older I find some experiences, which occurred years ago, feel more like days or weeks to me – still vibrant and alive in my heart and my mind. And yet as I look back, half a lifetime has occurred – some good and some bad – but all part of the fibers that comprise the person I am today.

Few of us realize (myself included) that time is a luxury – something we somewhat selfishly assume we’ll always have more of. Sadly, that’s not often the case.

My company professionally hangs Christmas lights across the Front Range during the holiday season. As is often the case, year after year we’re asked to “donate” our lighting services to one charitable organization or another – and many times we oblige where we can.

But this year one charitable organization left an indescribable imprint on our hearts. It came from the Make-A-Wish Foundation on behalf of a family in southern Colorado.

As unfathomable as this might seem, their young nine-year-old daughter was about to receive hospice care in her home. Her only wish? To have her house beautifully decorated with colorful holiday lights for Christmas.

When I first heard “hospice care,” my mind automatically thought of the elderly – probably due to my own personal experiences with my grandfather. To imagine that someone so young, who hasn’t yet had time to experience life and all its possibilities, would be leaving this earth so soon was hard for me to digest and has lingered on my mind for the last few days.

Charles Darwin once said that “A man who dares waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

As we begin this December 2015, I feel as though I’m being reminded of what the true “value of life” really is. It’s not about our career successes, our financial prosperity, our worldly possessions or the exotic places we’ve traveled.

It’s far simpler than that – it’s about the impression we’ve left on those who mean so much to us. The cherished memories, unconditionally love, innocent laughter and constant compassion. That is what people will remember you for and I’m sure that young girl has already provided her family with that invaluable gift this holiday season.

It’s easy to get caught up in the “hustle and bustle” of the holidays – of everyday life for that matter – without ever stopping to ask have I “discovered the value of life”?

Sadly, the story I recanted above is just one of many we’ll hear and be inspired by this holiday season. Some will try to ignore and even deny such stories; others might even say something like “Bah, humbug!” But for those who already have a firm understanding of “the value of life” it will only make it that much stronger.