Over the past few days there has been near mass hysteria over Robin William’s death. Obviously the fact that he died is gut wrenching but the hysteria has arrived more so in the realm of the social media uprising over particular aspects of his death, primarily the question, is suicide a choice or a mindless path of defeat for one who is battling depression? I’m not going to weigh in on that issue. I have thoughts about it, but it’s not extremely relevant in the grand scheme of what’s going on here. A celebrity died by his own two hands and that act makes us normal folk question everything about life. A celebrity who had the world at his fingertips could not find the strength within himself to continue on in life as he knew it. A celebrity with a beautiful, healthy family decided to end it all because, well, we don’t really know why. We only have our assumptions.
When someone dies, we are painfully slapped in the face with our own mortality, especially when a person dies before what we would deem “their time” as it occurred with Robin Williams or with any young person. Something about young death, especially child death, is extremely hard on us as a society because it doesn’t seem right. Children shouldn’t die just as people shouldn’t die by their own doing. When a celebrity dies we are slapped in the face with the glaring fact that one day –
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US WILL FACE THE MYSTERIOUS SHROUD OF THE UNKNOWN AS WE VENTURE FROM THIS LIFE TO THE NEXT BECAUSE NONE OF US GETS OUT OF HERE ALIVE. PERIOD.
I awoke to the news of William’s death the morning of my son Luke’s birthday, a birthday which holds a little more significance to me than the other kid’s birthdays do. Luke was never supposed to be born. He suffered from a stroke in utero (or so they say) and was pronounced terminal at my sixteen week checkup. I prayed hard for Luke during the remaining four months of that pregnancy. I laid down my life for this child as I battled day in and day out, pleading with God Almighty to spare my son. I learned on August 12, 2004, the day I gave birth to him, what a precious gift life is and to never take it for granted.
I honestly hope to live to be 150 years old. I know people (my husband) who would rather check out when they get old, but I’m not that person. I am passionate about the life I live. and I want to continue living for as long as God grants me breath to do so. I was given a gift at 33 years old – the gift of watching a young man struggle to live as he gave everything he had to his final days – a gift of knowledge, the innate knowledge of how fleeting this thing called life really is. I have not forgotten that gift, and I don’t believe I ever will. I strive every single day to honor the glimpse of eternity I saw and to honor it through living deeply and purposefully as if each day was truly my last.
Living intentionally is a choice, and this choice involves people and our relationships with them. Sometimes I’m really good at this and sometimes I’m not, but in simplified terms, life lived well, lived intentionally, does not really include adding another pair of stilettos to an already increasingly expansive collection of shoes nor does it involve chasing down the latest and greatest in Apple technology. To quote the ever graceful and perceptive author Ann Lamont, we should all “Try not to squander [our] life on meaningless, multi-tasking bullshit.” Amen sister.
Instead of trying to find ourselves – let’s just be ourselves. Make those in our life feel valued through actions, however small or large. Give what we have. Give our arms to our husbands as we hold them after long, weary days. Give a quick note to someone who is struggling with depression or loneliness. Give a meal to a shut in. Give a kind word to the neighbor we’d rather chuck off a bridge. That’s life. Giving what we have in the twenty-four hours we’ve been given. Putting down our personal agendas for a moment or two to think of someone else and the battle that they are deeply entrenched in. Loving passionately. Responding quickly. Holding tightly. Not one of us makes it out of here alive. Not one, and no one knows when their current existence will turn into shadows as the next life slowly arises into reality. Don’t be a vacant shell of a person going through the motions. Have a story, a really good story at the end of your days, and live your story well. Live it intentionally.
Just keep livin!!
Here’s a new favorite song of mine by One Republic that pretty well sums it up.