Happy April 1st Everyone! A new month, a new start, a new everything! Just the way I like it. March was not a good blogging month for me because I worked on a big project due at the end of the month, and it occupied most of my time. However, the deadline was extended so now I can breathe and relax a little bit.
This weekend I finally had a chance to watch Les Miserables and I loved it because of its grand story, plethora of interesting characters, and a message of hope for tomorrow despite the wretchedness, pain, and darkness that surrounds existence. It unveiled the amazing power of love and mercy, and how one act of kindness or cruelty can ripple into the future to dramatically change the lives of people interconnected by faith, hope, and despair. And I love musicals so of course I replayed the songs on Spotify until the melodies were stitched on my brain. Despite all the death and sorrow diffused throughout Les Mis, I found it inspiring and uplifting. Ironic, I know.
This brings me to today’s topic of Death. This is not my first post on Death. However, I want to expand a little more on what can be learned from this morose truth of our lives.
Death helps one to stop sweating the small stuff.
A good friend forgot a birthday or rescinded a promise to meet-up? Sister or brother annoyed the hell of out of you because they forgot to do something important? Parents on your case about this or that, and you’ve finally hit the red zone? Boss gave you crap over something that wasn’t your fault? That important package didn’t arrive on time? Another rejection from a coveted job application? Agent? Potential love interest? An idiot made an ignorant comment about you or others? And so on and so on.
These things may be small as isolated problems but do the addition and it all becomes an overwhelming mess that turns you into a sour patch kid when you expend energy on losing your cool. When I think that I’ll die tomorrow or that the person annoying me at some particular moment might die tomorrow too, that insignificant problem diminishes even further and I recover from it quickly. The steam escapes, I take a deep breath, and I choose love and calm, the path of peace and onward to bigger and better things. Because they’re really are bigger and better things out there. Ain’t nobody got time for sweating the small stuff!
Death helps one to focus on the bigger and better things.
Usually people are very concerned about safety and security, and they are within their rights to be so concerned. Nobody likes the feeling that his or her life is in danger of failure or that tomorrow looms like a big question mark. It’s easy to settle because settling usually offers a means of safety and security. Some people don’t mind settling and they’re quite content with it. Good for them. However, if you’re like me, I don’t want to settle in anything—career, life partner, dreams, etc. To settle is to throw time away, invite boredom, which is worse than death, and slowly torture and kill passion. One of my worst case scenarios is to die knowing that I had settled in the most important things, that I didn’t have the gall to take risks, dance a little with danger and uncertainty, be patient in the long journey to achieve my dreams, and attain the rewards for such courage in the midst of voices preaching reason to settle.
I don’t want to live that way, and my decision to pursue the bigger and better things has put me in a vulnerable place. I don’t have misguided fantasies about working on what I love and rejecting stability and security through a means I know will make me unhappy. When you make a decision to pursue dreams, difficulties will come like a flood, people will talk negatively about or to you, and doubts and impatience will rise, along with the fears that you’re wasting your years on some big idea or project you can’t let go. There will be tears and grinding of the teeth. In other words, you will be tested and walk through fire. And that’s what sets you apart from others who can’t take the heat, so they settle.
However, it’s in the fire that you grow more than you ever thought you could, develop the endurance to withstand the darkest days and nights, inspire others and stand out for your uniqueness and courage, and ultimately find and receive something even grander than your dreams. If I must die, I want to die doing something above and beyond myself, not living a life of a person who settled. I want to die living, not die dying. Like Victor Hugo said, “It’s nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”
How about you? What has death taught you? I’d love to hear your responses!
Thanks for reading,