I often look at life as beautiful even when its ugly, how else can you appreciate the beauty without its negative counterpart? I learned this lesson by accident.
A number of years ago I purchased a coffee mug, which I used for years until it finally broke. It had one of those endearing quotes, which I keep fresh in my head and not buried in the back with useless facts and numbers.
The quote goes like this,
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Off in the distance a police siren screams that ‘hurry up and get out of the way, I’m on a mission’ jingle. That tune never gets old. I wonder for whom does the bell tolls?
An interesting story about that mug, I purchased it the day before my son had a grand mal seizure. Needless to say, the next day my breath was taken away. That day started like every other, and yet I can’t remember any details of my drill sergeant ways to get the kids off to school or me hustling right behind them for work. I don’t recall a single meeting or a conference call. I don’t recall stopping at the grocery store picking up last minute items for dinner like I usually do.
Yet, I remember every detail of that night from when I found him staring off into the distance crying without making tears. And it wasn’t his normal cry; it was a cry from an unknown place. I remember how his body felt rigid in my arms as I tried to reach him and let him know his mother, his defender, was there and ready to help him back home.
I suppose that night will stay with me for the rest of my life. I had nothing, and I felt nothing, only prayers in my mind, which I repeated over and over as if God had not witnessed my pain or had not heard my pleas for mercy and strength. For five hours, there was no breath, no reasons, and no understanding. I just had my son and my prayers swaying under the stale light of the emergency room wondering how to live after this night.
The next morning when I returned home, the mug was on the kitchen counter still wrapped in tissue paper. I slowly unwrapped it and made my first cup of coffee for the day. There was a different kind of light in the kitchen or maybe that light was always the same and I had changed. The light wasn’t bright as it was more sterile, as if assuring me of the change that occurred. The night before was a life-marking event: before the seizure and after seizure. Like before a marriage and after a marriage; like before his birth and after his…
There I was standing in the kitchen alone in the morning light waking up from a nightmare, feeling the true weight my limbs and feeling my breath again, and there it was – that simple little quote staring back at me in its fancy chocolate brown handwritten words against a cream background. All of sudden those words contained my entire world.
Life wasn’t about how long you live or where you live or even how you die.
No, life is about how you live it.
I’ve heard of a study, I’m not sure if it’s based on truth or propaganda from the media. The study goes like this, hospitals asked their dying patients if they had any regrets. It was assumed death was a truth serum, and the patients somehow had no reason to lie. The results were close to 100% of the patients were fine with the life they lived, but they were distraught about the should haves/could haves in life they didn’t do. They wished they hadn’t waited so long to create their bucket lists. They were pissed with the things they had put off to do till tomorrow.
Now, this leaves me with you and our conversation.
I’m dragging this knife across this wooden countertop leaving a crooked ugly line; much like the way life leaves it’s crooked ugly scars against our souls. The countertop will remember this moment. It will be changed from this instant on, but you? What will you remember from this moment, how will you change?
What are you going to put off till tomorrow and wish on Death’s door you had already done? Maybe kissing your true love? An adventure? Or maybe something simple, like being real.
Death is always on time and according to my watch your time is running out.