Yesterday, Kim and I traveled ten hours by car. We took a different route than we normally drive when heading back to the Midwest, but we weren’t heading back to Wisconsin. Instead, we drove to Indianapolis.
Along the way, we encountered the Eastern Mountains of varying heights and beautiful valleys both wooded and rocky. The mountains gave way to farm country of rolling hills that turned flat as if a benevolent giant had run a hot iron over the land to straighten it out. The city-scape changed from country to small dots on a map, and finally to large urban areas.
The day began in fog and then turned cloudy. We had a patch of five minutes when rain made it impossible to see as we drove, no matter what speed I had the wipers on. Eventually, blue sky peeked out tentatively from behind clouds and today as I write this, the sky is mostly blue with bright sun.
Sort of like life, really.
This past year I attended four funerals. My nephew in October; my mom in April; my son just last month, and today, one of my best friends, Tom. All were at different ages: Jared was in his early twenties and still a college student; my mom was 99; my son was only 28 and getting ready to begin a new job, his dream job; and Tom was 60. Each year, he celebrated his birthday just twelve days before I did. Each of them experienced a different death, but the end result was the same. They were gone.
Yet . . .
In each case, however, Jared, Mom, Wil and Tom can each proudly say, “I Swear I Lived.”
Those words come from a song written and sung by the group, One Republic, titled “I Lived.”
Each commencement, instead of a ‘principal’s address’ I pick out a song with lyrics that seem to fit the graduating class and I sing it to them. This past year, I chose the song, “I Lived” because it fit them.
The chorus contains the lyrics:
“I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
Yeah with every broken bone
I swear I lived!”
I think it describes a life well-lived. Certainly a life lived by Jared and Wil, though their lives were cut far too short. My mom lived a long, long life, and Tom, well, 60 years might seem long, but being that same age myself, it seems kind of short to me. Really, really short and I hope I get to live a lot longer than . . .
But I also hope that when the time comes, I can stand before the Lord and say, “I owned every second that this world could give; I saw so many places, the things that I did, yeah, with every broken bone, I swear I lived!” And I believe the Lord will look upon me and nod.
But . . .
If I add the following, “And along the way, I tried not to hurt others, but if I did, I did so unintentionally. I tried to make amends, to do better each and every time. And, I tried very hard to lift up, to raise up, to lend a hand and extend a word of encouragement.” I believe that if I can add those words, the Lord will not only give me a nod, but He will smile and extend His arms to give me a warm embrace.
So to each of you who take the time to read this, I hope you follow Jared’s, my mom’s, Wil’s and Tom’s lead and say, “I Swear I Lived!” I so hope you do. And along the way, take the time to lift up, to raise up, to lend a hand and extend a word of encouragement. And, try not to hurt others along the way, but if you do, make amends. Please. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To my readers:
Thanks so much for checking out my debut novel, Taking Lives. It is now available in both eBook and paperback. I’ll be happy to sign a copy for you. I would be most appreciative if after reading it, you could go to the Amazon site and write a review. It helps me and it might help another reader searching for a good read. Thank you for taking a chance on a rookie writer! Joe