Never Woke Up

We have all heard the sayings, in various words and languages that basically boil down to the same thing.
“Carpe Diem” “Live like you’re dying.” You get what I’m talking about.

But I was struck with a thought on my drive home today. What if I close my eyes to sleep, and never wake up? A morbid take on the age-old sentiment, but one that struck me as more than a pep talk for spontaneity.

You are in bed, tired and ready to get some shut eye, maybe some prayers are uttered, (the request-to-gratitude ratio is heavily tipped towards the former, if you’re like me), perhaps a to-do list for the next day, week, and/or month bounces around your skull; and then your eyelids shut, and that’s it.

The sayings always imply that you’re going to die the next day, but what if the sayings implied that you were going to die in hours, if not minutes? How would you handle that? Obviously you are not going to jump up and complete your bucket list, because you lived the day like any other, and they just don’t let civilians do high altitude skydives at night. All you have left to do is reflect and pray.

Would you be able to see the miracles that intertwined in your mundane day? Would you be proud of your conduct towards others? Your thoughts towards others? Your thoughts about yourself? Could you accept the not-so-nice things you may have done, and be able to rise above our negative-centric status-quo, and acknowledge the good that you do? Would you want to strive to fix your wrongs, and spread more love and joy in the world; if you got the chance to wake up? Would you endeavor to stop complaining, vocally or internally, about your life situation and take each day for what it truly is, 86,400 miracles; because every second is one more piece of time that you got to be a part of.

I want to be a person that at the end of the day, I would be okay if it were my time to go. Of course there will always be things that I want to do. But if I was called home after closing my eyes, I want to feel like I spent my last day present and grateful in every possible moment, and spreading as much love as I had to give plus a little more.

So take it or leave it, but I think my major attitude adjustment for the year is going to start at the end of each day…What if I Never Woke up?

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Oh Life

Life is messy.

Life is beautiful.

Life is hard, wear a helmet.

Life is full of cliches.

Life is in every breath.

Every smile.

Every tear.

Life is more than

a tangle of

worn phrases

and

repetitive circumstances.

                                                                   Breath in.

Heart beat.

                                                            Breath out.

Heart beat.

Repeat until your last second.

Life is the intangible drive

to seek the unknown

and unseen.

Life is one of the

greatest mysteries

we will ever encounter.

What is the meaning of life?

Why am I here?

What is my purpose?

Cliches are cliches

for a reason.

Every generation

has the same questions.

But life is in

the unanswered solutions.

And the beauty of that

should deliver a sense

of discovery,

and dare I say,

a slice of chaotic peace.

God’s Warrior

There are a select few that can cut through the bullshit of this world and show everyone around them what is truly important.

Willie was one of those people. I was 11 when they found the tumor in Willie’s brain.

We’ve all lost people to cancer. But I honestly cannot imagine what that must have felt like, how scary it must have been. Instead of using pretty words to describe that which I know nothing about, I will tell you what I do know, because few realize just how much kids pay attention to. Instead of feelings of betrayal, anger, and despair, this diagnosis brought together an already close group of friends into an air-tight community. More than that, Willie and his family’s struggles brought those people to God.

Before Willie got sick, religion was not a common topic of conversation at get-togethers. Afterwards, people started to pray, to read the Bible, and go to church; and not to keep up appearances either. Through this adversity I saw faith spread through our community faster than any cancer would ever dare to. That faith, that courage that Willie, Michelle, Colton, and the whole family have upheld throughout the years has been an inspiration and beacon for countless people.

And though I am prone to exaggeration, countless is accurate. Just me personally, when I was at school, and would be told that Willie was going to have a surgery, I would ask my friends to pray for him; and I went to a university that some classes started with prayer, so then more people are touched by the fight with cancer, it spreads to the prayer groups & bible studies; and then a couple of days later, a person that I’ve never talked to comes up to ask about Willie, tells me they’ve been praying for him. Hundreds of people were praying, were having a conversation with God, because of Willie; and that’s just from my prayer requests, when you start to think about all of Willie’s loved ones (and there are tons) that were like me, asking for prayers, it is mind blowing the number of conversations with The Almighty that Willie instigated.

Willie fought cancer for 13 years. There is something beautiful in the fact that he was allowed to reach his 52nd birthday, which was yesterday. He was a warrior, God’s warrior. I have been told that as children of God, if we bring a single person to know God and the power of prayer, then we will have accomplished great wonders in the eyes of our Creator. God isn’t surprised, He knows all and planned all before we were a reality…but I like to think that Willie’s impact on this world exceeded even God’s expectations.

Take away the countless people that Willie brought to prayer. Take away how big Camas’ Relay for Life got after people started seeing this big group of fun & rowdy people; making everyone want a big team of their own to have fun while fighting cancer. Take away the amount of people that Willie’s cancer was the reason they started going back to church. Take away everything I have been desperately trying to convey through my babbling. And you are left with a man, and his family, who were humble under the will of God, and had unfailing faith, strength, and courage in the midst of something that would have crushed most.

Praise God for Willie and his family. There is no doubt in my mind that they have saved hundreds, if not thousands of souls. I have two wishes as an outcome to this heartbreaking loss, which let’s be honest, I have no right to claim wishes, but I’m going to do it anyway…

I wish that even a fraction of us that have been effected by this wonderful family can find a way to serve them in a respectful way, to let them know the depth and breadth of our love for them. My second wish, is that all of us, no matter our situation, strive to be God’s warriors, as Willie was, beacons of faith and love, and have that fire of the fighting spirit, through the way in which we live, that makes people turn their heads and say, “What is keeping them going with such fight?”

I would never wish death upon anyone, because I know all too well the scar it leaves on the living. But then again, I was struck by the thought of the affect of Willie’s badass musicianship on heaven’s choir and orchestra. So, if you hear angelic music in a moment of profound prayer, and find it a bit more classic-rock-y than you were expecting…well, you know who to thank now. A man who was so spectacular, he is  beyond the patronage of fluffy words, Willie.

Ungrateful Little Shit

Everyone says that it’s normal. That’s it’s “that phase” in my life. To not have a clue, to constantly have the taste of dissatisfaction in my mouth, and the panic of my own suffocating life on my chest. I have never been normal, not a single thing is normal about me, and yet now I start fitting in?!

Screw that! I don’t want normal anymore, I got over that years ago, but now all those prayers are coming back to haunt me. I have literally gotten everything that I have been praying for. Of course not in the manner in which I was envisioning them, but I’m not the Almighty, so I really wouldn’t now how to plan my life if I tried. That would be like putting a Chihuahua in the drivers seat, and not buckling up for the ride. (And no, the Chihuahua is not from a children’s movie, so there is no orchestrated dance of multiple animals to operate the couple tons of machinery.)

No matter how many times I go over in my head all the blessings in my life, every prayer that has been answered, I can’t shake this feeling of unrest, of uselessness. My spiritual advisors have always told me that I am blessed, that it’s a good thing not to feel too at home here, because Earth is not our home. But this sensation is different. My life, my loved ones, they all surround me with support, and yet I feel alone. Like a stalled car on an abandoned road that’s out of cell range. My communication skills are failing. For me going through something that is completely normal in everyone’s life, I feel like I am being separated more and more. Today I actually had to remind myself how people interact, eye contact, smile, use words, ask how they are doing, please make the smile less pained. I have motivation for my future, which is nice, but every venture into its possibilities turns into a dead end.

I am sick and tired of feeling sorry for myself. It is really making it a nuisance that there is no way to get away from me. I just pray for help…I’m sure God doesn’t appreciate my diction, but the most common prayer I keep on saying lately is, “Father, please help me not to be such an ungrateful little shit. My life is full of so many blessings, and I just want to be able to recognize that.

Pause Button

I have already written of the human need to control that which we cannot.

Time.

Just one of the many entities that cannot be seen or touched, but has more power and lasting effects than a hydrogen bomb.

It is in those moments when you feel the smallest and most isolated–standing before an ancient monument that defies modern engineering and not being allowed to take a picture; huffing and puffing at the top of a hiking trail while you tether yourself to a tree so you can look down the cliff and see the huge trees growing out of the cracks in the lava stone cliffs; or saying goodbye to someone you care for–that you desperately wish time could really be stopped, like in the movies.

Which of course, no matter how hard I have believed, it cannot be done.

What a downer, right?

Wrong!

Time may not be courteous enough to slow down when we want it to, but then again, isn’t that the point? We wouldn’t want our heart to stop just for a couple of minutes would we?

With each millisecond everything is evolving, rejuvenating, and consuming through the time on which we all feed.

To me, that is so mind-blowingly gorgeous! Change, while terrifying, and sometimes painful, is a step forward, whether it seems like it, or not.

Time is a sneaky little minx. Stalking in and around our cells, our relationships, the gears in our cars, and the molecules of the earth beneath our feet. As many times as I wish I could freeze it, it would be no good, because it is the passing of time that makes every moment, every sight, and every heartbeat a miracle.

So stop trying to push the pause button, and take in life as it comes upon you in a tsunami of uncontrollable, unyeilding, and the completely inspiring passing of time.