Our little community of faith has lost three prominent members in the past seven months. People who, one year ago, we would never have thought would be gone by this time. People who quietly made an impact on everyone around them, and who are all missed greatly every Sunday when we gather together for worship.

The third one passed away just a week and a half ago. We buried him this time last week. And as we gathered for our mid-week church activities, I watched our people walk as they ate supper together, walked through the halls, and talked with one another. And I realized something important.

Much too often, we take each other for granted.

We just expect that we will always be this way, the way we are today. That the people with whom we live, work, play, and worship will always be there. We treat each other flippantly, even without meaning to. We don’t cherish these moments nearly enough.

Let’s really look at one another!…It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed… Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it – every, every minute? (Emily) ~ Thornton Wilder, in Our Town

After living through cancer and the side effects of treatment, I no longer take for granted my ability to put together a vegetable soup to simmer in the slow cooker all day, or the beauty of a walk on a  sunny day, or the smell of fresh coffee in the pot.

We need to celebrate each other more. We compete for everything without learning to celebrate the success of others. When someone gets the part, the job, the house, the promotion, I want to take the time to celebrate with them, not be jealous for what I don’t have.

We need to listen more. We move at such a fast pace, and we pretend that Facebook lets us keep up with our friends and family. But it doesn’t replace one-on-one contact with another, over coffee, in the car line, in the pew, at the park.

We need to expand our circles. It’s so easy to find a group of friends who make us feel comfortable and never expand that circle to include someone else. We need to extend the hand, give the invite, learn a name, include the new person.

We need to take the time. We need to slow down, put away the phone, get off the train so that we can take the walk, smell the flowers, pet the dog, and cherish life.

As Emily said, we need to really see life, and the people around us, while we live it.