Thursday, May 21, 2009

Living it up

The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hill top hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse. Helen Keller
Six years ago today, at 9:14 am two police officers walked into the room where I was hiding in fear of the man they arrested. In that moment of release, I was given the miracle of my life -- the chance to find myself amidst the devastation around me, and reclaim my place in the sun.

Yesterday, I spoke with a friend whose wife passed away in his arms less than two weeks ago. "I don't know why this has happened to me," he said. "But I do know, time heals. Yes, time heals."

Sometimes, there is no 'why'. Sometimes, the only thing we can do is accept, this is life unfolding in its own time.

For my friend, the pain is fresh. The sorrow deep. And yes, time will heal the wound. He will smile again, laugh again, leap for joy again. For the moment, he will feel pain and hopefully treat himself with tender loving care.

"We don't come with a roadmap to healing imprinted under our skin, ready to be unfolded as events such as this occur," I told him. "We make the map up as we go along. We do what feels right in the moment of passing through the pain. What soothes are aching spirits and eases the pain in our hearts."

"I am being gentle with myself. I even went for a hot rock massage yesterday," he said. "I couldn't conceive of doing that before. I was too busy. Too involved with making things happen."

My friend and his wife were prepared, as best one can be, for what transpired. But nothing could prepare him for the sense of loss, of pain and sorrow he is experiencing today.

This too shall pass.

We don't get to direct the universe. We only get to do our best to act out our role as human beings.

Six years ago I had no idea that morning would hold the watershed moment between my living or dying. Six years ago, I had no idea where I'd be today. What I did know, even in those first few minutes and hours of freedom was that I had been given a miracle -- it was up to me to cherish it. To use it or lose it as the saying goes.

In the course of my journey since that morning, my daughters and I have spoken a great deal about the events leading up to that moment of release. We've talked about the pain and turmoil. The fear and angst. The sorrow and grief. The horror at what happened.

And we have all three come to appreciate the lessons learned, the growth and the freedom we have experienced since that morning six years ago today. In accepting there was nothing about that journey we can change now, we accept the gifts we have received. And dance in the light of being free.

We have been blessed.

Life is a journey that ends with our passing from this earthly realm into a place beyond our wildest imaginings here on earth. We cannot change that one irrefutable endpoint. For each of us, it will come in its own time.

For my friend, his wife was ready. She didn't want to go, but she couldn't stay the course of fighting against the disease that was eating away at her well-being.

Life doesn't ask -- are you ready to go? It asks, are you ready to live it up in the here and now?

Life isn't about being ready to die. It's about being alive in each surrendered moment, filling it up with all the love you've got to give and taking from it all the love there is to be taken.

That's life.

And when we have lived in the rapture of being alive, we can go whenever it's time without fearing something we've left behind will come undone.

Today, I salute the courageous men and women who battle everyday to stop the onslaught of cancer in our lives. I salute those who seek cures, and those who give so much to help those suffering from the disease.

The question is: Are you 'living like you were dying', making each moment count as if it were your last? Are you riding high on the waves of living, filling each moment with all you've got, loving yourself enough to give your best? Are you afraid of living or dying?


S L M Moss said...

Happy Anniversary! I am so glad you are free and I am privileged to know you.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thanks Sarah! And I am happy to know you too! What a blessing you are in my life.



Anonymous said...

Life is amazing isn't it?
I too had that similar "wakening moment" when exactly a year after I was victim of a domestic abuse, I found myself happy on a sunny beach...
I was walking along the shore and I found a small gold ring

I always thought that was a gift from God to remind me how precious I am!