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Time's Gift
Written by Paul Landis Delaune

     When I was a kid, sometimes I would wonder what life would be like in the year 2000.  When I realized
I would be forty-five years old in the year 2000, I couldnít imagine that age because it seemed so old.  At
that point in my life, anyone over twenty seemed old.


     Now itís the year 2000 and I am forty-five years old.  Not only does forty-five not seem old, I still feel
young.  And not only do I still feel young, I like being forty-five.  I do admit I donít feel like a teenager
anymore, but now anyone under twenty seems too young to understand much about life.  I sure didnít when
I was that age, though I thought I did.

     I have found the greatest gift one receives from time is greater acceptance of oneself.  Not only do I
know myself better, I appreciate myself more.  I like myself more.  Iím more comfortable with myself.  I
also better know the things about myself that I would like to change, but I also realize my personal
well-being may be best served by accepting myself as I am than by changing myself.  But everything
changes, even people, and I am no different.


     I have changed a lot over the past thirty years.  My beliefs and opinions have gone from being
narrow-minded and inflexible to being very open-minded and accepting of ideas that I would have
once labeled insane or impossible.  Not only have my beliefs and opinions changed a lot over the
past thirty years, I have discovered that changing my mind changes my life.  To some, this is an old
truth; to me, it is a new one, but an important one.  Itís my key to happiness.

     A few years ago a woman, espousing a particular religious point of view and whom I did not know,
called me on the telephone and proceeded to lament how terrible the world is.  She was surprised
when I told her that the world is a wonderful, beautiful place in my eyes.  She informed
me I am in the minority and few see the world as I do.  I told her that may be true, but I am happy.
I got the impression she wasnít happy.


     I grew up being a happy child, then spent several years being depressed and unhappy after I injured
my spine and became paralyzed. Over the last five or six years I have re-discovered happiness.  I have
learned happiness is a choice and one cultivates it as one would cultivate a garden.  Our minds are
like gardens.  Negative thoughts are like weeds choking blossoms of peace and joy while fear is
like drought that dries up happy thoughts.

     My life has been about discovering who I really am and the person I am has been fluid and ever changing,
like a river flowing and carving out a new course as it goes.  As time goes by, I continue to know and
like myself better.  I also continue to work in my garden of happinessóthe weeds come up quick and
drought easily forms. Itís a work of loveÖand faith.