Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Those Not Busy Being Born Are Busy Dying

I woke up today at 5:30 AM. I was deep into a dream that had me in Hawaii. I never did make it back to the islands.

The late actress Katherine Hepburn when asked if she thought life was hard replied, "Life is hard. It kills all of us"! Even the now senior citizen, Bob Dylan, sang in his youth, "Those not being born are busy dying". The other night I was eating dinner with my family. I shared with my oldest son that after finding out I was a diabetic I started watching my carbs to lose weight and I have lost about fifty pounds. He jokingly said, "Dad, you're not losing weight because you are dieting. You are losing weight because you are dying". I knew he was joking but he is right and so is Bob Dylan. We are all dying everyday. It will take some of us longer than others. None of us know our time. Even though I am a 56 year old diabetic, I may outlive some of you young people. In spite of my health issues I come from a pretty good gene pool with a history of longevity in my family. I have also had a few near misses with potential death so nothing is guaranteed. My health issues have actually had some positive benefit in my life. I am probably living healthier at this time of my life than I ever have. These thoughts, however, are not really about dying. They are about living. Life is so precious and such a gift. We need to live it well. I am not talking about extreme living or a life of grand adventure. Most of us will never live adventurous lives. We will live mostly quiet, hidden lives full of the ordinary. We can still, however, live lives that are deep with meaning, full of love, and purposeful. Many people spend much of their lives getting ready to live. Some die before they ever begin to live. The time to live is now. I love to watch dinosaur programs on the Discovery Channel. It is not unusual to hear the narrator say something like, "Tyrannosaurus Rex ruled the earth for 75,000,000 years". 75,000,000 years for one species to evolve and finally disappear????? We might have, if we are lucky, 75-80 years as individuals to evolve into our best self before we die. Do you feel a small sense of urgency about living now? Living with a sense of urgency does not mean that we have to live with a sense of panic as well. Intentional living is living with a sense of purpose. As you load the backpack you will carry through life, do not weigh yourself down with inessentials. Focus on what is really important. Let go of worry and needless concerns. Travel light. Hold no grudges. Forgive everything. Love much. Harm no one. Smell the flowers. Feel the wind. Dance to the music.

About ten years ago a friend asked me to write and read poem for her wedding. I had forgotten about it until yesterday when she sent it to me and asked if I remembered it. Looking at it now I do remember it and I am sharing it today for others that might like it. I do not consider myself a poet but I have occasionally tried to write poetry.

For Susanne on her Wedding Day

From the dawning of the day, until the sun sets on the horizon,love calls us by name, and seeks us out in the silent spaces of our lives.

It beckons us to hear it's voice...and listen.

What is this love that speaks so quietly and touches us as a gentle breeze?

It is the passion of youth that becomes the warmth of age.

It is the conflict of differences that becomes the acceptance of uniqueness.

It is the sharing of struggles and the enjoyment of simple pleasures.

It is the gift found in the balance between yourself and another.

It is the home we never want to leave, and the place, when we are lost, that we long to be.

It is our beginning, our end, and everything in between.

It is the very life of God within us, and it is what we celebrate today.

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