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Life is Short... find the Joy Now

The past couple weeks I have been reminded of the fact that life is short.  I good friend, a young mom of 6 great kids, started chemo for breast cancer; a young man died leaving a grieving fiance and family; and today a friend posted that her 16 year old son died yesterday.  My heart is breaking for them all. My heart is breaking for their loved ones. All are young.  All had dreams of being with family and friends forever. 

Life is short. We seem to think that we’ll live forever on this earth. We spend time and money as though we’ll always be here. We buy shiny things on Black Friday, fighting through crowds and standing in lines, as though they matter and are worth the debt and stress of attachment. We put off the so-called “trip of a lifetime” for another year, because we all assume we have another year. We don’t tell the ones we love how much we love them often enough because we assume there’s always tomorrow.

And we fear. Oh, do we fear. We stick it out in dead end, miserable jobs and situations because we’re afraid of the risk of stepping out and finding something new. We don’t reach high enough or far enough because we’re worried we’ll fail, forgetting – or never realizing – that it’s better to fail spectacularly while reaching for the stars than it is to succeed at something we never really wanted in the first place.

I do it.  Why do you think I am still at this "healthy" state?  Why do you think I stay in the same "comfortable" station in life and rarely try something new?

Years ago a friend from high school was dieing of AIDS.  He called and wanted to chat.  I was too busy with toddlers and worries of lack of money.  I was afraid of the unknown surrounding AIDS.  I was afraid..  I didn't want to take the time, or to make the effort to go visit him.  I regret that now.

We think we’ve got forever to make things right.  Or that the concerns that weigh us down are so pressing that we can't focus on anything else. We worry about the trivial to the neglect of the most precious thing we have: moments we’ll never see again. We talk of killing time, passing time, and getting through the week, forgetting we’re wishing away the moments that comprise our lives... moments with the ones we love.

We say time is money when in fact the time we have is ALL we have. Money can be borrowed, time can’t. We fear taking risks, unaware that the biggest risk we run in playing it safe is that we have never truly lived. And then it’s too late. We watched our favourite TV shows, we fought a losing battle with our weight, we picked up the guitar once in a while and never quite finished the continuing education we wanted to do. We managed to get a large flatscreen and new cars once in a while, but the list of things we’d have done if we could really, truly could have done anything, kept growing. And we never did them.

It is time to truly live.  It is time to live for the moment.  It is time to find the JOY in every moment we have with family and friends.  It is time to create more of those moments and to truly make a difference in the world one moment; one decision; one brave act at a time.
Whatever your dream is, find a way to make it happen. Your kids can come with you. Your job can wait. You can find someone to feed the dogs, cats, and chickens. I know, I know, there are so many reasons we can’t and some of those reasons are valid.

Life is not only short, it is also sometimes profoundly hard. But I think sometimes our reasons are in fact only excuses. Excuses keep us in the dark.  Living the dream is not self-help, positive-thinking, wish-upon-a-star kind of stuff.  It is the realization that life is short and no one is going to live my life on my behalf. It is the realization that dreams are dreamed to come true.  After all, God's work is to bring to pass our eternal joy and immortality of His children.  And "men are that they might have joy."  

And one day soon – because it’ll seem that way, I know it – my candle will burn out; I want it to burn hot and bright while it’s still lit. I want it to light fires and set others ablaze.

Say what you mean... make a difference... tell people you love them... find someone to help... enjoy a few sunrises (today was beautiful in Central Oregon)... eat a little chocolate... call a few family member... give someone on the street corner lunch, even if it's a Happy Meal.

Life is short. Live it now. And live it with all your strength and passion now. Don’t keep it in reserve against a day you might not have. While the ember is still lit, fan it to flame. Be bold about it, even if your circumstances mean all you have is to love and laugh boldly. Because now is all we have, and these dreams won’t chase themselves.

Maybe I should save up and go on a real vacation too....

Life is short... Live now... And Love tons.


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