Funerals are not something I look forward to, and frankly, I find them quite exhausting. I’m sure you’ve come to the same conclusion regarding this ritual in our lives. Nevertheless, they serve an important function— they enable the surviving loved ones to have a way to say goodbye and help you start the grieving process. With family and friends surrounding you, funerals can give you some sense of comfort and peace.
I always do a lot of thinking when I attend a funeral. Saturday, as I listened to the family tell wonderful stories of their mother, I was reminded about how easy it is to forget what really matters in life. Let’s be honest here, so much of our days are spent stressed about the car that cut in front of us, upset about the C that our child got on the Math test, or angry with the way our boss talked to us in the meeting. These unimportant details and worries begin to take over our thinking and color our days. They become the way we live our life. Before you know it, this is our pattern. Each day becomes another day and another day, and we live it like we have all the time in the world. We live it like we have the right to waste our days.
We let unimportant “stuff” take up space in our head and we do this willingly. We make a choice that this “stuff” is worthy of our time, our thoughts, our energy, and our life. Whether the choice is conscious or unconscious doesn’t matter. The important point is that it’s still our choice, our decision we have made.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day’s minutiae and forget about how so little of it really matters. It’s easier to do this than it is to live each day like it’s the last day of our life. There’s a piece of us that must enjoy the emotions that come with the “stuff” that occupies space in our head. We must, or why would we live our lives this way? Maybe we find a strange comfort in spending each day in the same exhausting routine.
I went to the store yesterday to pick up a couple things for dinner. I ran into an acquaintance. I know her husband, but I couldn’t even tell you her name. We chatted for a while before she whispered something to me. I thought I heard her but I surely hoped I was wrong. She repeated it again for me. Her husband had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer and was failing. She searched my eyes and asked me if I thought he was going to be OK. I hugged her and reminded her to take it one day at a time.
Again, I was reminded how fragile life truly is. We make plans in the distant future and fritter away our time, just assuming that we have unlimited days to do whatever we want. The reality is somewhat different.
My suggestion is that you vow to live your life with clarity— be clear on your priorities and demonstrate this in your behavior daily. Live life fully— don’t waste your precious time and energy on “stuff” that’s not important.
Make a pact to live NOW.