Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I can see clearly now

This is not a 9-11 post, although it is a post about living and dying.

My daughter-in-law ran a half marathon a couple of weeks ago, a really tough one in the heat at Virginia Beach. Partway into the race, she and her running partner turned the corner and saw an apparently fit man who’d collapsed. He was being given CPR, EMTs were on their way as was an ambulance, but it was not enough. He died.

My DIL wrote a very moving post about that event, the thoughts that went through her head when she saw him, and her struggle both that day and the next week to make sense of something so random and arbitrary.

Years ago I either read or heard in a sermon (don’t recall now which it was) something that made sense to me. Basically, the author or speaker said, until we come to terms with the facts of our deaths, we’ll have a hard time making sense of our lives. I took that to mean that if I want to live a purposeful life, and feel as though at the end of it all I spent my life doing things that matter to me, then I need to be deliberate in what I do and how I live.

As another friend of mine posted today (and I’m paraphrasing), you just don’t know if today’s the day you’re on the wrong plane or in the wrong building. I think J would agree – she’s comforted by her faith, and she’s aware now in a different way that yes, life is fragile and arbitrary. We don’t know when the end comes. Better to live deliberately and to enjoy the moments we do have.

I have a tattoo of a sun face. I got it in 1999 as I came out of a particularly dark time in my life. That tattoo was a permanent, visible commitment to myself that I didn't have to live in a mud puddle or stick around with negative, emotional vampires. About five or six years ago, I got it recolored; I want it to stay vivid. I always want to remember that commitment and even more I want to live it.


Anonymous said...

A man I was hiking with died a few years ago. It was especially odd, I think, because we didn't really know him, and it happened so quickly. I guess people I have known who died before had done it with some amount of advance warning -- but that's the thing, of course. We'll all die, and it may happen suddenly, and it could very well happen surrounded by people we don't really know.

kittiesx3 said...

I remember you posting about that. I suspect your experience then was very similar to my daughter-in-law's experience a couple of weeks ago.

Diane Russell said...

There are three lines in a Carrie Newcomer song that are always rattling around in my head. "Time will wash away our footprints amd we'll leave without a trace. Between here, now, and forever is such precious little time. What we do in love and kindness is all we ever leave behind."

Jen Shear said...

thanks for this post! It's always nice to hear that my jumbled words were understood.