I had been listening to Ed Sheeran all weekend long and his remake of Johnny Cash' classic: Wayfaring Stranger really struck a cord with me. So very late on Sunday night, I put the following lyrics on Facebook:
I'm going there to see my mother
I'm going there no more to roam
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home
And then I went to bed.
I woke up on Monday to a few missed calls, voicemails, BBM messages and Facebook comments. Ranging from "please explain what you mean" to "hope you're doing ok. I'm sure you're doing ok. You better be doing ok!" to "God forbid! Not now!"
If you know me very well these words mirror my life almost too closely and it is not far-fetched that someone could read far more into them than I intended.
The first thing that occurred to me is that I must be one of the luckiest people in the world to have so many people who cared about me to read the tiniest bit of my words and immediately think to worry about me. I know it is a huge luxury in the world we live in today and I pray I never take it for granted.
And then I started thinking of how afraid we all are of death. I think that the older we get and the smaller the world becomes, it can begin to look like death is all around us. And it is only natural that we run from it.
But we all owe it to ourselves to look death in the face, not as a shocking 'thing' that 'happened' to someone else, but for the reality that it is. Because there is one thing that is universally true for every one of us on this earth: one day, each one of us will pass away from here. It is a sobering thought and the human mind fights not to accept it, but there is no way around it. I think what is even worse is not knowing the when and why and how it will happen. Because after years of learning to take control of all aspects of your life, it really is uncomfortable not having control of whether or not you will have a life in the very next second. Just like that.
After I lost one of the best friends I ever had 2 years ago I was in a very bad place. I went through many months of just being defeated by death. I panicked whenever the phone rang at an odd time. I was afraid for everyone I knew. I had nightmares and then I tortured myself when I was awake. Somehow I was able to hide it from everyone around me. And then I went through periods where I didn't want to be close to people so it wouldn't hurt so much when they left me. But eventually I had to make my peace with his death or get crushed by the pain I was going through. It took many months to finally get out of that place and I find that I still need to remind myself sometimes.
But I am not deathly afraid of death anymore, excuse the pun. I pray every day for a long and impactful life and I pray that I get to enjoy those years with the ones that I hold close to my heart. But I am also putting my house in order, because none of us really knows just how little time we have left.
I am constantly reminding myself that 'Now' is all I really have. So I have to settle the matters of my soul now, live a full life now, love now, forgive now, travel now, do something new now. And if I'm lucky to have tomorrow to do it all over again, then I'll do it even better than I did today...