Last week a girl that I had known since junior high passed away without warning. One moment everything was fine, and the next moment she was gone, leaving behind a husband and three kids. I didn't know her very well, just enough to smile and say hello when I saw her in the hall at church, but the sudden devastation of her death has forced me to think about the fragility of life. To quote a line from one of my favorite cheesy chick flicks (Where the Heart Is): "Our lives can change with every breath we take." The overriding feeling I was left with is that life is too short. Life is too short to hold a grudge. You never know when it will be too late to forgive, or to ask for forgiveness. Life is too short to judge others, to deprive ourselves and them of what we could share with one another.
Life is too short to waste time on what matters least.
Life is too short to limit your own potential. How much time do we spend telling ourselves we can't do it, we're not good enough, we shouldn't even try?
Life is too short to stay in your comfort zone. We need to push ourselves, to take risks, to have adventures!
Life is too short to only see the darkness around you. Yes, there is always darkness in this world, always hurt and hunger and injustice. But there is also so much beauty and love. Embracing the light gives us power to combat the darkness.
Life is too short to withhold love -- from our children, our family, strangers, any human being.
Life is too short to live in regret. We can't go backwards, only forwards. We have to be honest with ourselves about what we regret, do what we can to fix it, and live in peace with what we can't. (See #1 about asking forgiveness...)
And finally, life is too short to live in fear, waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a big one for me. I am so paranoid that something catastrophic is going to hit our family, like losing a child or my husband. It's as though I feel we are so blessed that something must be lurking around the corner, just waiting to broadside us when we least expect it. And the truth is, it's probably true. Every family is faced with loss or hardship. That is part of our journey through this life as human beings, and none are immune. But we can't live in fear of the unknown.
Yes, life is too short. It's true whether we have another 5 minutes or another 50 years to live. If we live with purpose, whatever time we are given will be exactly the right amount for us to create a beautiful, happy life. If we don't -- if we let life pull us along without choosing to be what we want to be -- 1000 years wouldn't be enough.
P.S. I just watched a video on TED by a man who survived that plane crash into the Hudson River, and what he learned from being faced with death. It's worth a watch.