The Essence of Life

We come into the world naked and alone.  It’s not warm and fuzzy, and it’s certainly not much fun.  In America, if we’re lucky, we live just over 76 years (76.4 average life span for males, 81.2 for females), then leave the world the way we entered it—naked and alone.  During that time, we experience childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle age, and eventually old age.  Aside from the knowledge and skills we gain through our formal education and work experience, we accrue material possessions such as monetary wealth, houses, automobiles, electronic equipment, clothing, artwork, etc.  And finally, we acquire friends, the majority of whom are casual acquaintances whom we know for varying lengths of time, depending upon how often we move, what organizations we belong to, and which jobs we hold.  In addition, if we are fortunate, we may have a handful of really, really, good friends in our lifetime.  These are the individuals in whom we can confide when necessary, provide assistance to when they need it, and upon whom we can depend when we most need their help.

But there’s one other component of our lives that I have not mentioned.  It is life’s very essence.  Can you guess what it is?  Here’s a hint:  it’s what makes our lives truly worthwhile, and what gives our lives meaning and purpose.  We make sacrifices for it, we compromise with it, and we push ourselves to the very limits of our emotions to maintain it.  It’s the family (la famiglia, if your of Italian descent, as I am), and it’s the most valuable thing we have.  It’s true.  Regardless of how much success we have achieved in our careers, how many material possessions we have collected, or what degree of notoriety we have attained, without family it is all meaningless.  Without family, we are poor.  Without family, we are destitute.  Without family, we have nothing.

This weekend, I was literally immersed in family.  The occasion was a party to celebrate my granddaughter’s first birthday.  There were a few friends and neighbors in attendance, but mostly there was family—and lots of it.  Included were—in addition to my wife, my own two sons, their wives, and the aforementioned granddaughter—some of my present in-laws, many of my former in-laws (yes, we all got along) and my only brother.  Rather than bore you with the whole megillah (the Hebrew word for scroll), suffice it to say that there was an abundance of love in the room.  It was that special kind of day that occurs only once or twice in a lifetime.  It was truly magical, so much so that it prompted me to take stock of the blessings God has heaped upon me.  I concluded that I am richer than Croesus.  I am wealthy beyond my wildest dreams.

I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without family, but I can tell you what it’s like with family.  It’s quite simply the most fulfilling way I can imagine to spend those 76.4 years I have to live on this earth (or however many years God ultimately grants me).  With Thanksgiving approaching, I urge every one of you to think of the loved ones you are lucky enough to have, and to embrace the gift that keeps on giving, the essence of life—the family!

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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of five books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, Broken Promises and Deadly Ransom. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at:
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17 Responses to The Essence of Life

  1. Happy Birthday wishes to your little granddaughter! Our littlest family members bring us together and delight us with that special love that warms our hearts and makes us grateful for each moment. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂


  2. balroop2013 says:

    Hi Joe,

    Family is the foundation of all our relationships and emotions…all our basic instincts and habits are formed within a family, all the values of life are picked up from our family yet we start realising its importance when we move away from each other…isn’t it ironic? and we feel more comfortable and loved by our own family we create!

    You are blessed Joe…so many family members together for a celebration…what more can a person ask for! Thanks for sharing your blissful moments. Stay blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Joe. Too many people don’t appreciate the blessing of family. Ours ranges from great-grandparents (us), to 4 grandchildren, to 3 great-grands. We love ’em all and they all seem to love us, or at least like us. That’s the gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dick Fuller says:

    Our family always gets together for Thanksgiving. It is mandatory regardless of the time and travel involved. This year I will share your heartfelt message with them.
    Best regards,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I envy you. My youngest son, his wife, and my granddaughter will be in Hawaii. My other son will be elsewhere, my stepdaughter’s in Seattle, and my stepson is up in New Jersey. What time is dessert? 🙂


  5. KiM says:

    That’s a lot like yesterdays sermon was- this life is but a fleeting moment in eternity and where your treasure is – there will be your heart. Life here is too short to waste ~

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jane Raffo Nocella says:

    You have summed it all up beautifully! Ever since I realized at age 50 that the majority of my life was behind me, I approach each birthday with many of the same thoughts you shared. A dear friend just had her 70 birthday. (Mine will hopefully come in Feb.) When I asked her how she felt, she replied, “Plodding along!” We both laughed because we are still able to do much more than “plod” along. Yet, we also wondered about how many years we have ahead of us. Longevity doesn’t run in either of our families. Watching my 5 grandchildren grow in all ways is my greatest joy. Will I see them marry and have children of their own? Who knows! For now I’m happy to be “Grammy” sitting in the bleachers, cheering them on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A reminder many can use from time to time. Family is the center from which all else emanates. It is however, a dynamic center that can be difficult to hold together. The problem comes from wanting and expecting so much from each other – driven by love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If we’re lucky, Bill, we’ll have enough time to acquire the patience and understanding to NOT expect, but rather to ACCEPT however much we’re given…because everything is just that, a gift! 🙂


  8. davidprosser says:

    I totally agree Joe. Family is all and without it we’d be very poor indeed no matter how much money we had. I’m glad your celebrations went well.

    Liked by 1 person

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