Be Strong. Take Heart.

Life is Beautiful

Every night, I lay awake and think of life.  Life is such a wondrous and beautiful thing that I used to take for granted.  I always thought that I was living life to the fullest back before I became where I am today.  Every day was just like every other day except for special occasions and things planned outside of the ordinary.  Life was easy and everything seemed to be falling into place.  That is what I thought a beautiful life was.  It wasn't until everything changed that I realized that life can be so much more.

Life can be something of a mystery.  We read books, magazines and watch everything about life.  I often get caught in that watching phase myself looking at what a marvelous thing life can be.  What really gets me is when I step back and realize that life is here, it is now and it is what I am doing.  When you really think about it, you can make life what you want.  It can be exciting, it can be boring, it can be like everyone else or something extraordinarily different.  Our only limitations on what life can be are what we are physically able to do and the time that we have to do it in.

I used to live life by how much I could get done in a day.  How much could I complete or accomplish before I went to bed.  Now that was living for me.  These days, I struggle to get one thing done without physically collapsing.  It isn't every day that is like that but my life is definitely unpredictable.  An unpredictable life lends itself to caution and not making plans.  I've tried making plans and constantly coming up short.  I've tried not making plans and being happy when I could do anything.  Both ways have good and bad points. 

It is said that a man makes his plans and God directs his path.  What happens when a man stops making plans?  Does he wither and die?  Does he get pushed along in the sand like a shell from the ocean tide?  There can be a season in which a person can live without plans.  When your health is taken from you and everything is questionable, even hour to hour, you take a swipe at making plans.  Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't.  I get caught up in this frustration often and it doesn't help me see and understand life.  So I tried, just for a while, to just watch the world.  I don't mean sit down and not engage with the world.  I mean meet the world where you are and watch how people engage with each other.  In this phase of my life, I am learning a lot about the world around me and what is really important.  If it were not for my condition, I would be missing watching the very fabric of life unfold before my eyes.

Some mornings I have the strength to walk for a little while.  I see hundreds of cars rushing by filled with people going somewhere, doing something.  I often wonder if they are going to work.  Do they have a big meeting that day or are they worried about paying bills this month?  My headphones are always are alway firmly embedded in my ears so that I have my own soundtrack to life instead of the noise.  The noise around us is what distracts us from really seeing the bigger picture of what's going on in life.  Your noise may be money, your job, a meeting you're going to, the kids, getting married, having a baby, so many different noises both bad and good that can crowd out observation and life.  I like to smile at the cars going by to see if someone will smile back.  Chances are someone will and I hope that small smile will dampen their noise if just for a moment.

My life has been simplified to nothing, well nothing as far as material things.  I own next to nothing, I don't have too much more to lose and I live by the kindness of others.  I do have two wonderful and beautiful daughters that I miss so very much.  I hope to be with them again someday.  That in itself will be a great life. When you are taken down to your bones then nothing can be taken for granted anymore.  The blinders are down and you are exposed for who you are and everything you do is watched carefully.  Not because you are something special per se, but because you are different than everyone else.  People are curious about what a simple life consists of and the barriers that you face every day.  No one cares about the person that can do everything and overloads themselves with more and more.  Those people are great to watch and I wish that I had half of their energy.  But at the end of the day, I ask myself what would I do if I was given a second chance at this life.  What would I do if I became well enough to do more.

I have plans sure, noble plans even.  But the true test would be when that power was given back to me.  Would I stay true to my heart and help others or would I seek to make lots of money again.  My hope would be that I would be able to help others and make a difference in this world.  Money leaves you as fast as it comes so I have no desire to chase that life again.  But it is funny how it is always in the back of my mind.  If I had money, I always think, I could do this and this and this.  Well that just isn't true for me.  If I had money, I would probably just spend more time in research hospitals looking for help and answers.  Which, by the way, is not living.  I found that out the hard way.  I could stay in my own home or lay on a beach trying to get better, write or contemplate life and healing with money.  But that doesn't change who or where I am in life.  I could use some sun though seriously.

So why do I write something entitled "Life is Beautiful" when clearly I am stuck in this seemingly infinite abyss of suffering, poverty with no end in sight?  I'll tell you why; expectation and hope.  Even in the deepest, darkest pit of suffering there is hope and an expectation that things can always get better.  Sure the opposite can be true as well but that is when you lay face down in the pit.  When you are at the bottom of life and you simply roll over face up, life appears above you.  There is light in contrast to the darkness that surrounds you.  Eventually you have the courage to get up on your knees and maybe even stand at the bottom of the pit.  Sure you may fall again but there is something within us that wants us to overcome.  It is hard to explain in simple terms so I will just say that my spirit knows there is something greater coming.  It may not be fulfilled in this life but I haven't given up on that.  It is that hope, that expectation that allows me to look at all the people around me with normal lives and normal problems and see the extraordinary.  I see the potential of so much more in humanity.  I see a better world and a world where so many of us are not mindblind to the reality that passes us by.  I see a world not driven by consumption but service to others.  A world of kindness and peace.

I also see the clouds that roll by and the overwhelming darkness that is the reality we live in.  I don't know how to change the world and roll back the clouds.  There are no clever quotes or processes that I possess to change this world overnight.  But I can tell you that as dark as life can be, it can be darker still if we plant our faces down and don't try to change things.  Trust me, I have plenty of mud on my face from rolling over face down.  Every day is a journey and life, no matter the direction, can always become greater than we can imagine.