Life is short. I just woke up to the news that David Bowie died at 69 years old. What an incredible talent. Talk about living life meaningfully, he rocked it, literally! And that’s what this rant is about. We get one shot at life, let’s go for it. I just attended the most beautiful and moving funeral service this weekend, and that’s what prompted me to write this rant.
The room was filled with hundreds of people, all there, to support a terrific family. As I sat in the church, looking around me, I saw and I felt so much love. While I was listening to the stories about the deceased, it struck a chord with me. This man, this dad, lived such an incredibly full life. He had a football career at one of the top schools in the nation, he had a beautiful family, and he himself was one of six brothers. I can’t even imagine the chaos, the insanity, and the life in that family. When I listened to his brother speak, it was so apparent, just how precious life really is. He didn’t get up there and describe a perfect family life. He described a life full of ups and downs that he wouldn’t trade for one second. He talked about love, respect, competition, sports, brotherhood, mistakes, lessons learned and so much more. But most of all, he talked about the love that his brother had for his four sons. And that’s when it really hit me, how lucky we are to be here and to have healthy families. It was such a powerful moment for me, especially as a mom.
It conjured all of these questions in my head: What is the meaning of life and why are we here? Are we supposed to contribute something major and be remembered by many? Is being loved by our family enough? Am I doing what I should be with my life? Am I staying on top of my health so I can be here for my kids? Am I happy? Is my family happy? I know, it got deep for a few minutes. Not to worry, once I hit the reception, we all toasted to our friend with a glass of Chardonnay. I realized that being surrounded by family and friends is more than I could ever ask for. Anything after that is just icing on the cake.
You know how sometimes you wake up and you have a million things running through your head about what you “have to” do that day? It happens to me while I’m working out. I will be on the spin bike, eyes closed, going through my list of what needs to get done that day. Sometimes I jump off the bike before the class is over because I’ve worked myself into such a frenzied state that I don’t end up completing anything well that whole day. I was listening to a speech by one of the founders of the company, “Life is Good,” and he was describing a world where we don’t “Have to” run through our entire “to do” list that day, we “Get to” work on our “to do” list. And we should be thankful every minute of every day that we “get to” do anything at all. We “Get to.” Amen.
He’s learned over the years, through fan mail, that “Those who face the most adversity in life embrace optimism the most.” Isn’t that awesome. So a kid with one leg, is more optimistic than a frenzied mom who has 50 things on her to do list? Someone who faces adversity doesn’t sweat the small stuff. It makes you realize, as you’re sitting at a funeral for someone who no longer has the opportunity to “Get to” walk the dog, mow the lawn or go grocery shopping. We are so lucky to be here and we definitely can’t take our health for granted.
I never use names in my articles, but I want to dedicate this one to Steve O’Brien, and thank him for giving us such wonderful boys that will most certainly make this world a better place. RIP Stephen Kenlon O’Brien, December 14, 1955 – January 2, 2016.