“The trouble is, you think you have time.” ~Buddha
These past few weeks, I’ve once again found myself looking at life through a lens of loss and struggle and a gamete of emotions I am unable to reign in, and not even really wanting to try. I’ve needed to feel the rawness of it, the deep love of my family, and not take one, single breath for granted. It isn’t all sad, but I am learning to hi-light the good moments and savor them a little longer; letting them take the edge off the sadness that revolves around death and loss. It also, as it well should, makes me reflect strongly on my personal journey in this one life I get. So this rambling is written out of a place of realness and vulnerability and projected out into this big, wide world for your interpretation and judgement, but also as a source of strength and perhaps a self-check. What are you doing with this one life you have? If a loved one were sitting at a desk tonight penning your obituary, what would they say about you?
The harsh reality of a death is that you dying doesn’t affect you, but impacts those left behind. The hardest part isn’t saying goodbye to someone; it’s learning to live without them. It leaves a hole in a heart, it leaves an empty chair at a dinner table, it leaves words unsaid, it leaves dreams unfulfilled, it leaves a stillness and quiet that in fact echos off the walls of one’s mind & heart. Your birth and your death are your bookends, your timeline, to squeeze in as much as one can into the book of life, and if you’re lucky, you get to write numerous chapters full of life lived through good times and bad. The truth is, we are all pushing the time we have in this world. So I ask you again? What would those left behind have to say about this one life you lived?
Were you strong because you knew your weaknesses? Were you beautiful because you knew your flaws? Were you fearless because you knew it was your chance to fly? Were you wise because you learned from your mistakes? Did you love because you felt hate? Did you laugh because you knew sadness? Did you live with a sense of urgency? Did you share your heart unselfishly?
Maybe the real tragedy isn’t in fact our death, but what we let die inside of us while we lived. Because, the trouble is, we think we have time. We think we can tell someone we love them later, we think we can take our kids fishing another time, we can take that Sunday drive in that old pick-up truck another day, we can mend that broken fence later. Guess what… we don’t always get that time.
I don’t want to leave this world with doubts, or worse, leaving anyone else doubting. I want to use up every minute, and I want that to be my legacy. I want my obituary to be so full of good things, ornery sentiments, integrity, honesty, smiles and tears and love, not for me, not for my memory, but as a comfort and a reminder to those left behind. A reminder that you have this one life, so live it.
The gate only opens once to that ol’ rodeo of life. You might as well spur the hell out of that bronc and just let ‘er buck!