Life’s Moments

by Steve on March 13, 2011

The world certainly seems a violent place here lately. Japan is still reeling from the devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami, New England floods as the glacier melts, a tour bus gets cut in half in New York, and locally a woman died earlier this week when she ran her car up under the back of a delivery truck on US 280. I got to watch the sunrise this morning.

As the first rays hit my face I realized the destruction on the other side of the world will be felt here at home. The land of the rising sun will have to rebuild yet again but this time the impact of a weakened Japan will resonate around the planet. In a global economy the aftershocks will be felt throughout the world in ways we have yet to figure out. Some of the world’s largest manufacturers are Japanese: Nissan, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, and Honda just to name a few that we’re all intimately familiar with. I depend on some of those companies to earn my living. Those of you who know me are probably wondering “He works for a Caterpillar dealer, what’s he thinking?” Very few large corporations in the 21st century are wholly domestic or foreign. In my case, Cat Inc. of earth-moving fame is not really in the forklift business which I have been involved in for fifteen years or so. Just before I left the Navy and went to work for the local Cat dealer’s lift truck division, Cat entered into a joint venture with Mitsubishi forming Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift of America or MCFA for short. Caterpillar and MCFA are two separate companies although the world-famous Cat brand is carried on the yellow versions of the forklifts coming out of the MCFA plant in Houston, TX. Up until the most recent design change a few years back, both the Cat and Mitsubishi trucks were built with Mitsubishi engines imported from Japan. These days they run Nissan engines. How will recent events affect my ability to provide equipment for my customers and an income for my family? I’m fairly certain the destruction in Japan will have a direct negative impact.

It could be worse. The earth hasn’t shifted under my feet, the sea hasn’t swallowed me up, and so far today I’m not a traffic statistic. The sun is shining and the earth keeps spinning even though the entire island nation of Japan seems to have shifted almost three meters from where it used to be. Friends in Hawaii were spared the unknown certainty of the ripple that started several timezones away.

What will today bring? This month? This year? I don’t know but I hope I’m around to find out. As I get older I find time becomes more valuable which is an irony that will not be lost on my parents. Life has nothing to do with the price of gasoline or gold, its joy is not tied to your anual salary, life as we know it is finite. It has a beginning and an end. What we do with the in-between will determine if it was a good one or a wasted effort. Religious scholars and theologians will argue the point but I’m referring to the time that our soul spends attached to our mortal being. Time – how will you spend yours? Ever notice how we equate time and money? We spend them both, we save them both, and we measure cost using both.

If you were given the choice of more time or money, which would you take? The answer is so simple yet we tend to spend our lives chasing money. We work for retirement and yet when we arrive we’re physically unable to do most of the things we spent our life dreaming of doing.

Every day is a blessing, a fresh start. Mine began with my granddaughter giggling through a mask of blueberry pancakes and I enjoyed every sticky minute of breakfast.

In school we learned of the time value of money. Life teaches us the priceless value of time. Use it wisely.


Pinch March 14, 2011 at 8:17

Well said, Steve. Thanks.

John March 17, 2011 at 22:06

Excellent commentary Steve. Great read, left me wanting more.

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