On the Day I Die

A poem written by John Pavolitz

On the Day I Die

On the day I die a lot will happen.
A lot will change.
The world will be busy.

On the day I die, all the important appointments I made will be left unattended.
The many plans I had yet to complete will remain forever undone.
The calendar that ruled so many of my days will now be irrelevant to me.
All the material things I so chased and guarded and treasured will be left in the hands of others to care for or to discard.
The words of my critics which so burdened me will cease to sting or capture anymore. They will be unable to touch me.
The arguments I believed I’d won here will not serve me or bring me any satisfaction or solace.  
All my noisy incoming notifications and texts and calls will go unanswered. Their great urgency will be quieted.
My many nagging regrets will all be resigned to the past, where they should have always been anyway.
Every superficial worry about my body that I ever labored over; about my waistline or hairline or frown lines, will fade away.
My carefully crafted image, the one I worked so hard to shape for others here, will be left to them to complete anyway.
The sterling reputation I once struggled so greatly to maintain will be of little concern for me anymore.
All the small and large anxieties that stole sleep from me each night will be rendered powerless.
The deep and towering mysteries about life and death that so consumed my mind will finally be clarified in a way that they could never be before while I lived.
These things will certainly all be true on the day that I die.
Yet for as much as will happen on that day, one more thing that will happen.
On the day I die, the few people who really know and truly love me will grieve deeply.
They will feel a void.
They will feel cheated.
They will not feel ready.
They will feel as though a part of them has died as well.
And on that day, more than anything in the world they will want more time with me.
I know this from those I love and grieve over.
And so knowing this, while I am still alive I’ll try to remember that my time with them is finite and fleeting and so very precious—and I’ll do my best not to waste a second of it.
I’ll try not to squander a priceless moment worrying about all the other things that will happen on the day I die, because many of those things are either not my concern or beyond my control.
Friends, those other things have an insidious way of keeping you from living even as you live; vying for your attention, competing for your affections.
They rob you of the joy of this unrepeatable, uncontainable, ever-evaporating Now with those who love you and want only to share it with you.
Don’t miss the chance to dance with them while you can.

 It’s easy to waste so much daylight in the days before you die.
Don’t let your life be stolen every day by all that you believe matters, because on the day you die, much of it simply won’t.
Yes, you and I will die one day.
But before that day comes: let us live.

 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

 

2018

Happy New Year 

New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect on the year ending but also to look forward to the one about to be born at the stroke of midnight. As I write I know it is already 2018 where some of you live in other time zones and on the other side of the world, so it is not at one magical instant that we simultaneously experience this event. Regardless, within a span of a few hours, we all contemplate and celebrate a new year.

I have always liked new beginnings, fresh starts to “get it right” and I imagine that there are many of you who feel the same. Isn’t that why we make New Year’s resolutions year after year? I used to love the fresh clean pages of the new calendar in January but now they are a thing of the past for most of us. With our electronic calendars, we can enter or delete appointments, goals, and plans too easily perhaps leaving no trace of unfulfilled hopes.

Regardless, in a few hours, it will be a new year all around the globe and we all have another chance to do better, to get it right. What are your plans? Are you making resolutions? If so are they serious about world peace perhaps or attaining a new educational degree? Or typical, such as to lose a few pounds? I’ve learned that resolutions are an exercise in futility for me so I no longer set myself up to fail.

I have been asked in the past few days by two individuals what my plans are for 2018 and this is different I believe from asking what my resolutions are. Even before asked I had given thought to how to best invest my time with an emphasis on what I most enjoy. I know there will be wasted hours and perhaps even days, but by keeping focused daily on what I have identified as most significant I believe that I have a better chance to see 2018 end with a sense of having lived.

 

The Unlived Year
Midnight strikes and the old year's gone.
We close the tablets we've written on.
And torn 'twist hope and doubt and fear,
we open the book of the unlived year!

An unlived year! Ah, stained with tears
are the well-thumbed volumes of other years!
Soiled by blunders and black regret 
are the pages we read with eyelids wet. 

But fresh in our hands once more is laid
a clean, new book by the Master made.
Unmarred are the pages lying there--
Twelve new chapters fresh and fair.

It is ours to write the daily tale,
of how we conquer - or how we fail;
Of struggle and effort and hope that makes 
like a song in the heart, when the bright day breaks.

Yes, fresh in our hands with the title clear, 
is the challenge now of an unlived year!
Author Unknown

My Mother loved the poem (above) entitled “The Unlived Year” and each New Year’s Eve she would read it once again. I am looking now at a copy of that poem which was in her Bible when she died. Although the poem’s point is that we have an unlived year before us, I can’t help but think of it in another way. What if we looked back on the year behind us and realize it was unlived? How sad to have fretted over the trivial, to have reacted to things we cannot change and therefore to have missed opportunities to actually live. I plan to be more consciously aware of the gift that is this coming year and I do have plans to live it to the fullest. 

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Theme Photo by Pixabay

May your 2018 be filled with love and peace.

May our world be lit by harmony and understanding among all of creation.