Life is Not a Waiting Room for Death. Live Life Fully Alive

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Life As I See It Blog

Life is not a waiting room for death. Live life fully alive. 

-James Dobson

Read that again.....Life is not a waiting room for death.  Live life fully alive.  Simple, yet profound.  And to some, maybe confusing.  Some might say you're either alive or you're not, it's that simple.   But is it?

Let me back up for a minute.  Have you ever noticed, or paid attention to the budding leaves of spring?  I think most people, especially in today's hectic-paced world, notice that throughout winter the trees are barren of vegetation.  They appear like skeletons in the landscape, naked twigs vulnerable to the harsh elements of winter.  Until, all of a sudden, tiny sprouts emerge and before we know it, all the trees are lush with the fullness of mature vegetation where only skeletons once stood.  It seems like this process of new growth happens almost overnight, but to those paying attention, not only does it take a gradual and mystifying progression, it is a wonderous sight for anyone wise enough to observe.

So what does this opening quote have to do with the trees leafing out in the spring, you're wondering?  Almost anyone would tell you that time passes quickly.  Most would say, 'time flies'.  To the casual observer of the stark, colorless landscape in upstate NY, it seems like our world turns from grey to green practically overnight.  The same can be said with life.  Ask any mother who is sending her baby off to college.  To her it seems like just yesterday, that child was in kindergarten, totally dependent on her for almost everything.  Ask that same college student on their college graduation day how quickly they feel their time at college flew by.  Ask a grandparent whose grandchildren are already in middle school how it seems possible so much time has passed so quickly.  All would agree, time flies.  One day we or our loved ones are young with a full life ahead and suddenly, we are facing a much more advanced perspective of that timeline.

It occurred to me recently that as I approach my 69th birthday (that can't be right) that definitively the bulk, the better portion of my life is no longer ahead of me.  It's clearly behind me.  On the timeline of life, I am teetering on the cusp of what some may consider the beginning of the end.  Now don't get me wrong.  I know people live into their nineties and some even to 100, but realistically speaking, 69 is definitely on the far side of the mountain, and heading downward rapidly.  

Like the buds on the trees, I didn't get to this age overnight.  It happened gradually, over time, one year at a time.  Still in retrospect, those years raced by in what sometimes feels like an instant, a mere blink of an eye.  It didn't just happen to me.  My girls are 39 and 43.  That too feels almost impossible to grasp and yet, it's true.  Life happens.  It happens - whether we're paying attention to the fine details along the way or not.  One day we wake up and find ourselves in full bloom, and just like in nature, we know that autumn is on the horizon.  The question becomes, how many autumns do we have left.

So what does all this mean?  It means that life flashes by whether we are fully engaged or relaxing in our recliner.  It does not slow down waiting for us to engage, to get onboard, to savor the journey.  It simply passes from one day to the next, one month to the next, one year to the next until finally we reach our final autumn.  That my friends is why we must life live fully alive.  We must embrace the joy, release the pain and stress, forgive our enemies, and savor the view along the way.  We must learn to ignore what we cannot control, make time to learn new things, savor your children's childhood, prioritize our time and commitments, and do all the things you'll wish you'd taken time to do when you no longer have that time left.  Life is not a waiting room for death.  It is not a dress rehearsal, we don't get any extra innings.  Some are lucky enough to get a free ride past home for a little longer.  They are the lucky ones because they understand that life isn't forever.  All we have for certain is TODAY.  So I hope you choose to spend it living, not just waiting.

For more posts like this one, check out my blog Directory under the category, Food For Thought.

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