My husband lost a close friend a few months ago. He was only 26 years old. He fell asleep behind the wheel of his car and – like the striking of a match – the story of his time on earth was stamped with an expiration date. The gate slammed shut mercilessly – locked and sealed for eternity. And, there was no crossing back to the other side.
Death has a way of unlocking things in all whom are affected – of shaking those who are left behind back to life. Death takes our hand and whisks us away into a dark forest of mourning so that we can truly see that which is bringing light to our lives. And, as brutal as it is, it makes the living worthwhile.
While the body of those we love turns cold, ours hearts expand and swell in a blistering furnace of desperation as we cling to all that once was and will be no more. We are consumed and suffocated by the red hot pain. We try to run from it – to catch our breath – but, everywhere we go the agonizing swirl of emotions follow. So, we cope by straining with all of our might to keep any shred of our loved one alive – like squeezing and savoring every drop from the honeysuckle before summer is gone.
We ache for a farewell embrace and, sometimes, a chance to make amends. We long for one last toast to that inside joke, to one last car ride with that song blasting through the speakers. But, life seldom grants it. There is no final exchange of goodbye. There is no “Hey, man. I’m sorry about that one time.” Life doesn’t bargain with what we failed to realize or resolve. Rather, it does its job of communicating our fragility to us daily.
Life is steadfast in its reminder that none of its offerings – young and vibrant, old and feeble, pregnant with unfulfilled dreams or rich with happy endings – are ever guaranteed to be here tomorrow. Even the earth’s ever-changing seasons serve as a whisper that nothing – no matter how beautiful it once was in full and fragrant bloom – lasts forever. Everything begins, and everything expires.
Since I was a small child, I’ve been asked to gaze into the formidable face of grief time and again. I’ve locked eyes with it intensely. Yet, with every loss, its elusive finality becomes no less of a mystery.
But, consider this: What are the odds are that you exist at all?
In 2012, Dr. Ali Binazar decided to navigate such question. Her findings resulted in an infographic for Business Insider which outlines the probability of you and I ever having been conceived. And, the verdict is this: So infinitely tiny, it’s almost zero.
How fascinating it is that your parents ever crossed paths at all. And, it’s even more fascinating that a single egg and a single sperm united to form the minging of cells that would be realized as you. Whether your eyes are the color of sapphires or a vivid bursting of amber, whether your legs are long or short, and whether your canvas is ivory, caramel or mahogany, how fascinating it is that your intricate combination of genes joined forces to become the divine work of art that your streams of consciousness inhabit.
How true it is that what you are – whether it stretches on for ten years or nine decades – is an absolute, mind-boggling miracle. Your magic and relevance as an inhabitant of this planet are both astonishing and unfeigned.
And, oh so beautifully strange.
Life locks arms with us. It asks that we dance. And, so we often find ourselves getting lost inside of its effortless seduction – high from every dip, twirl and motion in between. Some of us are seduced by the fruitless search for a thrill that never tires. Some of us are seduced by the exaltations of love, money, power, fame and vanity. Some of us become addicted to being admired and desired.
Whatever our pleasure or vice, when death knocks at our door, life suddenly unfurls us from its grip – releasing us as though we are a stranger that it never knew at all. And, just like the striking of a match – we are gone. Those who are left behind may search for our faces through the crowd, but we are not to be found. We are absent from the dance floor.
In the end, life will have its way with you. And, you won’t get any of your time or money back. But, in this moment – right now – you’re still here. Your feet are still pressed against the dance floor. So, the question is: Are you moving the way you wish to move? Are you moving in a way that is true for you?
Because, one day, your final note will have played. One day, life will have had its wild and wonderful way with you.
Are you having your way with it?
©TheDailyDoll.com / Lacey Johnson 2017
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