The latest atrocity happened when the mother of a four-year-old was accused of not only starving her but killing her. A few days after that, an unarmed African-American man was killed in his driveway by police. The week before that there was a school shooting, and the week before that a young man used his parent’s gun to kill innocent young lives. Or was that the same week? Was that the same month that someone lost their child to cancer or a troubled teenager lost his father to a drug overdose? Do I remember reading that a wife lost her husband to heart disease or was it that she lost her father to dementia? It all runs together …DEATH becomes that haunting, dark enigma that takes over our lives. At every turn, on every channel, invading every social media outlet and news station we are faced with DEATH all while we try to maneuver LIFE, and those of us who are impacted directly by losing a loved one or friend are left trying to figure out how to LIVE with the hole in our hearts left as death’s inevitable mark.
Yet no matter how heavy the heart break, how strong the sting or how pressing the pain of death is, there is something even more agonizing- LIFE UNLIVED. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but only if you assume that just because you are ALIVE you are LIVING. My definition of alive is more of a physical nature- you have a detectable heartbeat. THAT IS IT. Living- on the other hand- encompasses so much more than the capacity to inhale and exhale oxygen. Living is PURPOSEFUL and PASSIONATE. It is a JOYOUS JOURNEY of discovery. It is full of TWISTS, TRIALS and TRIUMPHS, and they are all welcome because of the realization that all of life- the good and the bad- makes us who we are, and who are is more important than who we aren’t because someone needs who we are. Living is GIVING. Living is GROWING. Living is LEARNING, LOVING and LEAPING out of the box of “good enough” and out of the box of other people’s expectations. Living is taking a firm grip on every day with the INTENTION of living “full out”- without regret and without apology. Having a heartbeat is not enough; having a heart to LIVE from the heart is TRUE living.
If death could talk, I am pretty sure that he would tell us about his spontaneous nature. He probably would also tell us that he wasn’t all that bad depending on our perception of who he was. When you think about it, though, death does speak. He reminds us to LIVE every moment of every day with as much love and happiness that we can because the next day is not promised. Death reminds us that if we give too much time to things that are unimportant at the end of life then we risk meeting him with untapped potential, unrealized dreams and a long list of “I wish I could have’s and should have’s”, which amount to nothing once our time has come.
So….what is stopping you from living? What goals, dreams or desires are still sitting on the shelf- dusty and forgotten? Who or what drains your energy so that you don’t feel empowered to run after your dreams? What keeps you in the work-run-pay bills rut that keeps you from enjoying the warm rays of the sun or soothing sound of the sea? What keeps you from loving you and from moving towards your better self? We all have obstacles that could potentially keep us from LIVING. It is the courage to face our truth and to face those obstacles that enables us to embrace a new way of thinking about LIVING and then begin to actually LIVE and ENJOY THE SMALL MOMENTS… POSITIVELY IMPACT OTHERS… GO AFTER A DREAM THAT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE… LIVE OUT THE BOX… SMILE FOR NO REASON… TRAVEL… LEARN… FORGIVE… LIVE…When death comes, because it will, what will be your legacy? I hope that one thing people will say about me is that I was not afraid LIVE. I hope they will say the same about you.