This planet we live on is a wonderland. So many places to go and things to see and do. It reminds me of when I went to the carnival as a child. Rides to go on, sideshows to watch, games with stuffed toys to win, and of course hot-dogs, waffle cones and pink sticky fair-floss swirled on a stick.
Tickets are the currency of the carnival. After jumping onto your ride of choice you sit there, excitement and anticipation building. “Tickets please,” the ride attendant calls as he walks along taking payment. Holding out your hand is bitter-sweet as he plucks the prized ticket from your fingers. One of your precious tickets gone for the privilege of enjoying the ride.
Just how many tickets do you have? As a child, I knew exactly how many. Mum and dad would divide them up between all the kids and each of us would have a set amount. We could spend our tickets anyway we chose. Like a budgeting exercise there was much discussion and careful consideration given to how we would part with those tickets and how to make them last as long as possible.
At the end of the day, no matter how much we planned or how long we stretched them out, eventually the tickets were gone and the dreaded words, “It’s time to go home” meant that for us the carnival was over.
As an adult I feel like I hand over a ticket each day I get to spend on this wonderful planet. Day in and day out, I reach into my pocket and hand over more tickets for the privilege of being here. That’s where it gets interesting. How many tickets do I have? I really don’t know. None of us do. When we arrive here we are given a roll of tickets and then spend the rest of our life handing them back.
Each and every day people run out of tickets. Be that by age, accident, illness or sometimes even by choice. As years go by each of us are increasingly aware of this. We witness and are touched by those around us who reach into their pocket, realize they are out of tickets, and are called home.
There is no greater time for reflection. What rides did that person spend their tickets on? Did they have a large roll of tickets or were they short changed with their ticket quota. Invariably thoughts eventually turn to our own lives. How are we spending our tickets? Just how many tickets do we have? Most of us have a number in mind that we would be satisfied with. But no one really knows.
Jan went home today. I will miss her laugh, her sense of humor and sharing rides with her.
Each day we wake up, stick our hand in our pocket and assume we will find another ticket. Today, as I reflect on this, I encourage you to treat each day as though you were handing over your very last ticket. Embrace each day fully at this carnival called life.
Jump on the rides, enjoy the food and appreciate the people you meet and spend time with. Enjoy all it has to offer as there will come a time when you hear ‘tickets please’, put your hand in your pocket and come up empty handed. At some stage, each one of us will be called home. Until then, appreciate that each day is precious and enjoy your time at the carnival.