Tag Archive | gifts

But Did I Live….?

The Wealthiest place on the planet is the graveyard, because in the graveyard we will find inventions that we were never exposed to, ideas, dreams that never became a reality, hopes and aspirations that were never acted upon.” ~Les Brown

 

I think about the above quote a lot lately. I guess it’s a side affect of talking to people about death every day.  Oddly death isn’t really the thing it makes me think about, but because I talk about death all day when I’m alone my thoughts turn more to life. I’ve made my peace with death already, not in a I’m ready to go kind of way. I would describe it is as more of a I’m not afraid of you, so you no longer rule my life type of way. Funny thing is that I have noticed that there are more people out there that are afraid of life than they are of death. I don’t know about you but when the bright light comes and beckons me to follow it, I want to be able to move on knowing I did the things that brought me joy and not look back and wonder, but did I live…..

      I know I lived in the sense that I had the jobs, made the money, paid the bills and did the things that I was taught to do. None of those things necessarily any more fulfilling than the other, they all amount to a hamster wheel we seem to get caught up on and can’t seem to find our way off. I’ve had the weddings, the divorces, the relationships that I just can’t seem to get right. Don’t get me wrong they all gave me what I needed at the time and I wouldn’t be half of who I am without even one of them. All those things thrown into a scrapbook together will certainly make a life, but that bigger question to me lies just a little deeper below the surface and it still asks, I know I had a life, but did I live….

Did I ever, even just once throw a dream up into the air so high I couldn’t see if it was coming back, and just hold my arms out open wide, eyes closed with faith that I could catch it? Did I stay so closed off in my walls of distrust that I missed the fact that I could have made a difference, or did I live with a completely open heart? Did I help when I could? Did I speak out when someone needed a voice, or did I pretend that mine didn’t matter? Did I write the book? Did I take the trip? Did I sing the song, the one that only I can hear? These are the things I ponder when I hear the words, but did I live…

      Trust me when I say that contemplating death makes people come up with notebooks full of regret. Things they wish they had done different, people that they wish they would have stayed in touch with and a body that they wished they would have loved enough to take care of. More people than we realize have a mind so full of regret the it’s the first to die. I hope that like me, you refuse to be the person with the deathbed regrets. I hope you live with a wide-open heart, ready for all possibilities. I hope you live with gratitude for life, because each second is a gift.  I hope you cultivate joy in your life and not just things. Make memories and not just paychecks. I hope you take a deep dive into the mysteries of life and if you ever find yourself asking the question, but did I live….

 I hope the only answer that you can shout from the rooftops is YES!     

The Gifts

 

     I don’t know if you are someone that believes that every person that comes into your life is there for a reason, but I am. Sometimes we change them, sometimes they change us and sometimes we change each other. I am always and forever grateful for all of the teachers that have walked through my life, even when the lessons that they taught me weren’t pleasant. Sometimes those that walk quickly through our lives are the ones that have the biggest impact. One such person is the father of my first child. We had the briefest of romances 23 years ago, and even at the time I knew it was a gift to me.

     We had known each other in high school, but we were anything but friends. I was friends with his brother and his sister, but Michael and I never had much use for one another. After he graduated he moved away and I didn’t see him for a couple of years. When he made his way back into town he came to see me after my brother had died, they were friends. We hit it off at the time because most of my friends really didn’t get me at the time, I was lost in grief and they didn’t want to go there with me. Michael understood where I was at the time as he had lost his mother when he was I think 16. The next thing you know we were together all the time. Then with the blink of an eye I was pregnant and with another he was gone. This set me on the course known as single motherhood. My parents thought the best solution was to make him marry me, but somehow I knew even at the ripe old age of 18 that marrying someone only for a child was the wrong thing to do.

     Life can always be beautiful if we are willing to look at the bad things that seem to be happening and find the gifts inside. Even then without knowing it consciously I did this with the situation, because I know I never saw my beautiful daughter as anything other than a gift in my life. A child lights up your life from the moment you hear that first heartbeat. It’s something that you can’t understand if you’ve never experienced it. I’m not going to tell you that life was always pleasant or that I have always looked back on the challenges in my life in the way I do now, as blessings. These are all things that come to everyone in time. Even if someone doesn’t figure it out until they are transitioning from this life, I believe everyone sooner or later realizes that life is always beautiful. I know I make that statement “life is always beautiful” a lot in my blogs. Sometimes this even leads people to believe that I am terminally happy, it doesn’t mean that at all. I think I just see life with a lot more gray than just black and white. The gifts of parenthood have certainly been challenging to see sometimes. I have been blessed with not just one but two amazing daughters and I wouldn’t trade the gifts that they have brought me for any amount of gold.

      My daughter’s dad came back into our lives in 1996 when Ashton was four years old. He was at best what you would call an on and off dad, but I do believe he did the best he could with what he had to work with. When people pass from this world we have a tendency of playing through our minds all of the things “that could have been, if only”. One of the hardest things to deal with when someone goes before us is this type of thinking. What we really should be focused on is all of the things that really were. The good, the bad and the ugly, so that we remember things as they really were and don’t get lost in what might have been. Most importantly when someone leaves this world be grateful for their contribution to your life. In the spirit of that thought I would like to take a moment and say thank you Michael for the gifts that you brought into my life. Your friendship when I needed it and our beautiful daughter when I was ready to be a Mom.

RIP Michael Scott Beatty…..fly with the angels my friend.