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I Shall Pass This Way But Once...

Updated on July 17, 2015

Last Things

We're a very busy society. We work hard, we play hard, we are distracted by the rapid pace of life and we seldom take time to smell the roses. But, one thing that I have observed is that once something is gone, it's usually gone forever. And only after it's gone does one realize the value, the worth of the item, person or place that was so often taken for granted.

Most often we are unaware of the last times, the last time that you kissed your child when he was still a child, the last time that you ran out of your house, letting the screen door slam to go and play with your friends, before the house was sold and you moved away, the last time you kissed your lover before the relationship went south or he or she died.

Yes, we seldom see it coming. But, if you did see it coming you might take the time to indelibly impress upon your memory the pleasures of the moment, you might consciously remember the little things that make life worth living. We are so busy dying that we seldom take time to live. Rush, rush, rush that's what we do, we rush towards death. We rush about to get the kids off to school, we rush to work so that we appear to be valuable and can retain our positions, we rush to the store, to the doctors, to make dinner. We rush through life and in the rush we often neglect to truly live.

The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is apathy and neglect. Only when you live life purposefully, appreciating every little wonderful thing will you live life to the fullest. Kiss your baby while he or she is still a baby, once they are grown they are grown forever, enjoy it when they cry and when they are messy and when they laugh. Hold your lover like it's the last time you will ever see them, because it just might be, don't take them for granted, ignore the stupid little things in favor of the beautiful wonderful things. Appreciate the taste of your mother's recipes and your favorite bistro for who knows what tomorrow will bring and if you will ever taste those things again. People die, businesses close, time marches on so we must live life purposefully savoring every bit and piece, nook and cranny, blue sky and stormy day and you will never die with regret. As someone once wrote: "I shall pass this way but once; any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show - let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

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    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan

      Thank You..this is one of my older hubs but one of my favorites. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 6 years ago from Asheville NC

      Thanks for this hub Brie,

      What I connected with was the deep feeling that your words portrayed. There was and is a knowing that only experience can bring. Thank you for sharing that with your hubpages family. There are many who will benefit by receiving your gift!

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 6 years ago from Manhattan

      Thank you for your very kind comments.

    • www.lookseenow profile image

      www.lookseenow 6 years ago

      I linked your post to mine, because a key word stands out: “do it now!”

      Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes artfully describes the days of old age when a person weakens and body organs break down, failing to function properly. Ecclesiastes portrays this ‘wintertime’ of life in symbolic language—as when the sun, moon, and stars darken, the figurative “house” is the human body. Its “keepers,” or guardians, are the arms and hands, which, in old age, tremble.

      When I see roses now, I do take time to smell, admire, and compliment the owner, because there were times I’m too preoccupied. You’re right: the past is won or lost, it’s like a one way street you can go only one way, forward.

      Good post thanks for being a neighbor HubPage writer.

      Regards: Jerry Gehen

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 7 years ago from Manhattan

      I would agree with that too. Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      Adrienne 7 years ago

      I once read the opposite of love is "indifference".

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 7 years ago from Manhattan

      To Everyone who has commented in the last 2 months: For some reason my email notification was off so I wasn't notified when you wrote your comments. Thanks for commenting and I'm sorry I wasn't able to respond in a timely manner.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 8 years ago from South Africa

      The quote you refer to in your really super Hub is "I expect to pass though this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to my fellow-creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." It is commonly attributed to Stephen Grellet, who was a French nobleman who emigrated to the US at the time of the French Revolution and subsequently became a member of the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers.

      This life is all we have - it is not a dress-rehearsal. So we are bound to cherish every moment and make the best of it. We won't get another chance!

      Thanks for this wonderful reminder.

      Love and peace


    • profile image

      Daniel 8 years ago

      This is 11 months old, yet something tells me that the author had something happen which compelled this entry.

      The things we should pay attention to are those which are wholesome, and decent. I know that is arcane language, but missing those is missing life, and the point of life.

      These truths are embedded in all our stories, all our knowledge, hidden in plain sight as it were.

      From the old Carlos Castaneda books is the wonderful quote of Don Juan, the Yaqui Indian sorcerer:

      "For me there is only the traveling on the paths that have a heart, on any path that may have a heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge for me is to traverse its full length. And there I travel--looking, looking, breathlessly."

    • Bill Beavers profile image

      Bill Beavers 8 years ago from California

      All so true. Thanks for the reminder. I just mentioned to my wife recently "it seems the older we get the faster we go racing toward the grave." What a sad statement but in a way true. It is true that the older one gets the faster time passes. I am learning to appreciate things I had previously passed by. I've learned to move a bit slower to provide opportunities for appreciation of the great things this life has to offer.

      Thanks again for the reminder.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 8 years ago from Manhattan

      You're welcome and I love those words "inner poverty" ...I think that describes it in such a perfect fashhion. I wish I'd thought of them :)

    • profile image

      CW 8 years ago

      Great post Brie. Loved Magicat's story. Thanks for food for thought.

      Seems to me that our pop culture expresses by default that it does not value time spent in quiet introspection, because our pop culture relentlessly applauds either constant activitity or social interaction (thus influencing us to neglect introspection). By rarely stopping to digest experiences fully, one creates an inner poverty (so it seems to me). Maybe this trend is partly a legacy of the pioneer spirit which made America: so much focus on external elements of struggle, achievement, etc.

      So much of one's life experience is determined by one's choices of what to focus on, hour by hour, day by day... Too bad it is not standard to teach this to individuals in our society; so we will habitually make this ongoing choice more consciously...

      Please excuse me if I'm spouting off too much. This is a rich topic which I rarely see discussed enough... Thanks again for good reading material Brie.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 8 years ago from Manhattan

      Beautiful comment :)

    • majicat profile image

      majicat 8 years ago

      Very good Piece.

      Yes, to be fully present in the moment. I remember years ago, my daughter had fallen asleep in the car. we got home late, I had to carry her up the stairs to her bed. She was getting pretty big. eight or nine years old. At first, I was grumbling to myself, but as I hefted her out of the car. I realized that this was the last time I would ever do this. I walked slowly, purposefully, and lived in the moment. I remember every step to this day. I laid her carefully in her bed and covered in her warm blankets. she didn't wake even when I kissed her good night my daughter will be thirty this year but she is still my little girl.

    • ajcor profile image

      ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      wonderful thought provoking hub Brie -holds true for all aspects of life - thank you....cheers

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      Brie, Thank you for this hub. It takes a long time to grasp the transient nature of life. My Mum had her children in two lots of three (I'm number five) and I always remember her telling me that the first three grew up before she realised, and she took care to enjoy every minute of her second little family. That has always stuck with me, and I try hard to live in the moment, and treasure all of life's experiences.

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 8 years ago from Manhattan

      Thank you so much, it gives me great happiness to hear your comments Elena.

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 8 years ago from Madrid

      "The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is apathy and neglect. " This line touched me, stirred me, moved me. Thought provoking and very evocative. Lovely all around.