--IT’S SCARY TO LEARN HOW VULNERABLE YOU CAN BECOME
…I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately.Boy, death is something I really hate.
But, after contemplating it, I’ve come to realize that without death, life wouldn’t mean as much as it does. It wouldn’t be so sacred. In fact, it might be fairly meaningless.
A long time ago I saw this movie (whose title escapes me now) where there was a creek with this magical water, and if you drank it, you never aged and had immortality. It wasn’t a very good film, but the premise stuck with me. Instead of being overjoyed, the people who drank the water regretted it. They stayed the same age forever, unable to experience life as a year older. Life had lost its purpose for them. They didn’t have to fear car wrecks or heart attacks or brain aneurisms. They were immortal and it felt, to them, like they’d cheated on the biggest exam of their life and were being eternally punished for their crime. I’m not explaining it very well, but it was the first time I understood that death serves a purpose, as does aging--that they're both important and crucial.
A friend of mine’s dog died yesterday. She was incredibly distraught. If you don’t like animals or don’t have a pet, feeling anguish over the death of a dog will seem inane to you.
I have a dog, Lucy, probably the best dog on the planet. I spend more time with her than I do any other living being. She follows me everywhere. We often communicate without speaking. I know when she gazes up at me while I’m at my desk, with that certain, desperate sparkle in her eye, that she’s asking, “Can I please have one of my favorite bones?” And then when I give it to her, (actually I tease her a bit, saying, “Is this what you want? Huh, Lucy? You want this?” before tossing it on the floor), she does this really cute thing where she pounces around it and spins and pounces and spins some more, as if the bone is a living thing, a new puppy perhaps, before finally clutching it in her jaws and taking it to another room. (Take my word for it, it is really fucking adorable.)
Another friend of mine was in a horrible auto accident, hit by a drunk driver going over the lane on the freeway. I saw pictures of her car. It was mangled so hard it looked like a crunched beer can. The EMT’s said they were shocked she wasn’t killed immediately. She’s fine now, though when I saw her at AWP she let me feel parts of her arm where there were still windshield shards of glass imbedded under her flesh. Since the accident six months ago, she’s had shards popping out of her skin every couple of days.
When I think about death, or near death experiences, I feel very lucky. I believe in God, I believe in Heaven, though a lot of that seems like mumbo jumbo and I simply take it on blind faith that it’s real. Still, I don’t want to die. I want to live. I want to do things that make me feel alive. I want to be with the people that make me feel more alive. Those are two of my resolutions for 2017 and I’m going to try very hard to make them come to fruition.
I’ve been incredibly fortune. I’ve had an amazing life. If I died tomorrow, or even today, I’d still be able to say I was lucky enough to have done more things than most people dream about. I’m not bragging. Not at all. I’m just saying I’m one very fortunate guy who is blessed for inexplicable reasons.
…Okay, so enough about death. After all, it’s Friday, the weekend looming. Here are a few things that make me think:
-"I think I'd like to be remembered as someone who beat the odds through just plain determination. ... that I persevered. Because I think that being somewhat of a pest to life, constantly plaguing and pursuing, will bring results." Sylvester Stallone
-"Is the life I'm living the life that wants to live in me?" Parker Palmer
-"You're only given a little spark of madness. You musn't lose it." Robin Williams
-“The failure of love might count for most of the suffering in the world.” Marie Howe
-“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.” Audrey Hepburn
-“I could hardly look into his eyes. I looked more often at his mouth, and could raise my eyes only briefly.” Marie Howe
-“The pot at the end of the rainbow is not money. I know because I have it.” Marin County
-“Over a lifetime, there are only four or five moments that really matter.” Deadpool
-“If you want to fly, you’ve got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” Toni Morrison