I rant and grow impatient, succumb to moments of frustration or fear and sometimes let my tongue flow a little too readily with sarcasm or criticism. And if I am hungry and tired at the same time – well, I am not always the nicest person.
But my desire is to slow down, to breathe, to notice and receive with gratitude the gifts of today. To smile at the stranger and make eye contact with the grocery clerk, to listen and learn, to laugh heartily and appreciate each and every person in my life. To freely forgive and love even when it is hard.
To live in such a way that if this were my last day, or my last hour, I would have no regrets.
Because the truth is, I am dying. And so are you.
Despite the headlines and the funerals, it is so very easy to forget. To lose sight of what is most important. We need to pay the bills but we do we really need to cut in front of that idiot driver and give him the finger on our way to work? Our kids need to get out the door to soccer and school and yet another birthday party but if we scream at them to make it happen would it be ok to arrive, instead, a few minutes late or just say no to one more activity? We must feed our family and make snacks for the potluck but maybe they don’t need to be Instagrammable if preparing them makes us hate the world and stay up way past bedtime to get all the work done.
In the end, are these the things that truly matter?
It hurts me to think of all the times I yelled at my kids to hurry, had no time for (yet another) hug, or rolled my eyes at my husband. The times I judged you too quickly. Or even the hours, if we added them all up, that I spent ruminating about how I hated my body. But I was doing the best I knew in the moment. And now I know and choose better.
I want to recognize that life is finite and fragile and live each breath fully. Sip the wine, savor the chocolate, hug long and hard. Live fully conscious and aware. Purposeful.
Because life is but a vapor – a gift to be used up. Not to be abused but to be delighted in.
I was thinking how my dad never returned to his home from the hospital. I don’t think he knew that day that he was saying goodbye to the home he had crafted, the rock walls he painstakingly constructed with many little helper hands. The memories infused in the walls of the home where he grew and grieved and built friendships and family. And maybe in the end, when you are fighting for your life, none of that matters. And maybe when you live your life fully aligned with your core values, your stuff is simply an appendage. But the point is, life can change in a heartbeat or the time it takes to pull a weapon from a holster.
One day you are going about your business and the next a fire rips through your town, the plane crashes, your son never returns home.
In this world we don’t have the promise of tomorrow.
Instead of living weighed down by sorrow, heavy burdened, I want to be propelled to action. To choose carefully how and with whom I spend my time. To choose my words a little more carefully sometimes and to release inhibition and speak up boldly at others. To be sure that the life I am living is the one I want. To think for myself instead of allowing media and big business to dictate my behavior, desires or spending habits.
Because this is my one and only precious life. And I am dying. And we are all heading the same direction.
Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. ~ Parker Palmer
Who are you and how do you want to live?
Are you carrying around a load of guilt or sorrow or unforgiveness that it is time to lay down? Are you spending your days aimlessly, lacking in purpose or clear direction? Perhaps you need to take a risk, go on a date, stop living in debt so that you can sleep at night. Pour out in some way.
Do you need to make amends with your sister, downsize your stuff, or start writing music again? Turn off the TV, buckle down on that pet project of yours, or cross ten things off that never-ending, anxiety-producing to-do list?
Because you are dying – so I urge you to figure out what makes you truly come alive.
Would it help to spend an hour or two Life Visioning because you aren’t even sure what it is that you want? If you need guidance or support in this area, contact me to learn how we can work together. Maybe you could start by identifying all the things you know you don’t want; sometimes that is the easier starting place.
And it is altogether possible that you actually have everything you want and need right now but you have been so distracted by what other people are doing that you forgot.
Please do the work to remember. Because you have gifts to bring the world and a purpose for being here. You are a gift to the world.
And we are all dying. So let’s make sure we really live.