We are all living, but are we all alive? Now some will be thinking, “Megan, of course we are alive. We couldn’t be reading this if we weren’t.” Yes, that is true. If you are reading this, you are living. But I ask again, are you alive? By now you’re probably wondering what I mean by this, so allow me to tell you.
Do you go to bed every single night knowing that you were alive that day? Or, do you just sit there and realize you’ve done the same thing for like the hundredth day in a row? You get up at 7 a.m. after hitting the snooze button three times. You use the bathroom, shower and dress yourself. Breakfast is simple before leaving for work or school. Most of your day is spent being bored and wishing you were elsewhere. You come home, eat dinner, watch your favorite show and go to bed. This is one example of doing the same thing every day.
It’s easy to fall into a routine and stick to your comfort zone. For most people, it’s easy to let opportunities pass by because they are afraid the outcome could be bad or they just simply don’t want to stray from what they know. Doing all these things results in living, yes, but does it result in being alive?
One of my favorite songs is “I Lived” by One Republic. A phrase that really sticks out to me reads, “Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up. And when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup.” To me this means that you spend every day wisely, that when the sun goes down and you lay in your bed you can say, “Today I was alive.”
So what could earn someone the privilege of saying, “Today I was alive”? It’s simple, really. Did you pay someone a compliment today that appeared to look a little sad? Did you take some treats to a neighbor that just had a baby? Did you prepare a meal for a family that was struggling with money? Did you offer to help someone move into their new house?
Was there a piece of trash in the park that you picked up? Was there a kid at school that felt left out so you talked with them? Did a coworker make a mistake and you helped fix it? Was your mother sick and you offered to clean up around the house or make dinner? Did your dad have a rough day so you played a game with him? Did you serve someone without thinking negative things? Were you willing to help the people around you?
These are all simple things in life that make a big difference. No, you didn’t give someone a million dollars and you didn’t take away all of their problems. You probably didn’t build someone a house or bring on world peace. But, you made someone smile. You made life a little easier that day for someone. You used your strength, your talents, and your smile to make the world a better place. Maybe it wasn’t something that the whole world recognized, but, you did something that you personally recognized. You did something that your Heavenly Father watched you do with a smile. You served others because you wanted to.
This, I believe, can make the difference between living and being alive. These experiences are things that will forever stick with you. You will go to bed every night knowing that today you made someone smile. Today you made life just a little bit easier for someone who was struggling. All of these little acts seem so small. They seem like they would hardly have a positive affect on someone but they do. They make people smile, fill hearts with love, and teach you to be humble and to serve. Don’t push these little opportunities to the side. These simple little deeds can change someone’s world.
President Monson said, “The Savior taught His disciples, ‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.’ “I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives.”
Nothing in life can make you feel more alive than seeing smiles on the faces of those you helped or hearing words of kindness from those you served. Yes, we are all living. But, are we alive? Are we dedicating our time to others instead of ourselves? When you go to bed tonight can you say with a resounding “YES” that, “Today I was alive”? I promise that if you take the time to slow down and look around, you will find countless opportunities to serve others. If you put aside your own desires and wants for five minutes every single day and focus on others, you will be able to say that today, you were alive.