I have always wondered about life and death. I’ve considered both and what they mean. Living? is that Life? Dying is that death? I’d hazard a guess, no. Just because your body is breathing and because your heart is beating and because your brain is performing functions, that’s not living. And death? Death is what people think of when all of those functions stop. But my thoughts? no.
Living is when you get up in the morning and you cannot count your blessings because there are too many. Living is when you are willing to be hurt in order to be happy. Living is when you use your brain and your body and your heart and your lungs in order to dream, play and love and cry. Living is when each and every day is a blessing, whether disguised or not. Living is recognizing that you are in fact alive and not just a random robot performing predictable, habitual activities every moment of every day. Living is thinking outside of the box, trying new things, loving even when it hurts. Living is caring so much that you feel powerless. But living is Not powerless. That would by dying. Living is full of power. The power of knowing emotions that have so many names that you never say your “OK” anymore. You feel what you feel. You feel anger and hope, love and despair, excited and bored. Living is knowing that pain actually has its place and doesn’t have to be avoided. Living is learning new things. Living is the power to make life meaningful.
Dying on the other hand is quite different and more common than living. The person who gets up in the morning, drives to work, works all day, drives home… only to sit in front of a TV and then go to bed and do it all again… So many people have no life at all. These are the dying. These people have given up on living, it was too much work. These are the people who grow “old”. Or think they are old at 30, 40, 60, even 80. These do not realize that life has opportunity, even as we age. Dying is waiting until some future that never comes before doing something you love. Dying is giving up on being healthy. Dying is never trying to excel anymore. Dying is pessimistic, vile, and ugly. Dying is accepting the fate of the doctors rather than fighting for life. Dying is sitting in the dark waiting for sleep to come, wondering why you even bother anymore. Dying is giving up.
I found myself dying. I had just the tiniest spark of life left in me. When I left my house for a time, a weekend away… that spark would ignite again. But just as soon as I returned the spark would nearly vanish. This scenario repeated over the years until I started to feed the spark inside more. This tiny little spark of life, of hope finally began to flame. The fire inside of me grew over the next several years, scorching the despair, scorching the cobwebs in my brain. This fire grew and grew until I was finally able to break loose of my chains. Chains that wanted to drown me.
The hard thing about living is that living has extremes. Living has hate and love, fear and peace. Living hurts. Living allows pain to have its place, but with pain comes happiness. Living is hard. It’s easier to ignore your feelings, it’s easier to stay with the devil you know. Living is scary, too. Living means going into the unknown and trusting that it won’t at least be worse than what you do know. It means trusting that there is a chance now for something better. Living has hope. Living means you allow yourself to be vulnerable. So many who are dying have built fortresses around themselves in the hopes they would never feel again. But I learned something today. I learned that those fortresses don’t stop the feelings they just don’t let you define them. Instead of feeling the pain you feel tired. Instead of hope you quit before you start. Instead of being vulnerable you feel lonely.
I enjoyed my fortress that I had built. I enjoyed it so much that I protected it, guarded it. I let no one know who I was. I refused to allow the slightest hint of vulnerability. Now, though, with my vulnerability I feel fragile. My walls are but crumbles of ruins now. My feelings are so many I cannot even count them. In a single day I may feel sad, happy, angry, lonely, scared, tired, exasperated, love, hope, despair, loneliness, pride, peace, and even hate. Being alive means feeling the extremes and accepting that they will pass and return again. It’s hard, it’s scary, it’s wonderful and it’s worth it.
Are you alive or are you no more than a robot pretending to be alive? Are you willing to take the chance again? Are you willing to let your walls down? Allow the possibility of peace and love and adventure again? Yes, you might get hurt but pain is so much better than nothing at all. Are you willing to trust yourself like a child does? Children are the best at being alive. Be like a child and trust your heart again. We adults trust our brains too much. Your heart will not lead you astray. It may lead you to things you’ve never thought of before, it may lead you down roads you’ve been scared to go… but it will always lead you in the direction you should go. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Thank you for reading,