More Than Just Existing . . . .

Today, as I was walking through the grocery store, I ran into the mother of a childhood friend. I hadn't seen her in a few years, and she was polite, but she was rushing, and I felt like she couldn't get away from me fast enough. Even though I knew why that should be, it didn't really hit me 'til a few moments later. The last time I'd seen her was at her younger daughter's funeral (the little sister of my childhood friend). The girl was only 18. She was an amazing student, a great friend, and loved so much by everyone who knew her. I remembered seeing her as a toddler in her stroller. She had the biggest blue eyes you could ever imagine. It jarred me to think that seeing me was probably a reminder to her mother of the child she'd lost, and she probably has enough of those every day, even now, years later.

There as not a single dry eye in the church- even the priest who presided over the service, who didn't know her at all had to stop several times, because he was choking up, thinking about this young, promising life, there and gone so fast.

Now, back in my house, with my children running around playing and not having a care in the world, I've had time to absorb and consider all the things that running into her mother made me feel. It wasn't just that she was young, it was that she was leading such a full life and in a blink it was over.
(that was on Saturday, 11/02. I was interrupted from typing by life, as it happens, and now it's almost Thursday. Since Saturday, we've had friends over, had a 2nd grader with a fever, then me with a fever, a few fights with a toddler about why she can't eat candy right before dinner- or first thing in the morning-a day off from school, two character concept line sketches, and 3 chapters for 2 separate stories. But the passage of time hasn't diminished the message I was trying to convey. If anything, it's been in the back of my mind the past 4 days. I knew I had to get back to it, had to finish, even if my words only reach one other person, even if it only makes them think differently for a moment, maybe that moment is the right moment that makes a difference for someone else. So here we are, Wednesday evening, 11/06)

Walking home with my daughter, in the sunlight, and the crisp autumn air, hearing birds and wind rustling through trees made me think about the beautiful little moments in life we all miss. I've been just going through the motions for a really long time, now. I don't even remember when I stopped actually living life. I can't remember the last time I did something meaningful, not for my family, my friends, or myself. I'm here and yeah, sure, I get up and do 'stuff', but how often am I on autopilot? How often am I actually doing something?

I started to think about how people can be affected by the death of a random person- and then I nearly slapped myself. Because NO ONE IS RANDOM, yet how often do we hear that phrase, random person? Everyone matters to someone, and if they don't, then they should and maybe it's our responsibility to stop seeing anyone as random.

I believe in signs. I believe that things happen for a reason. I don't know that there was a reason for me to have seen the mother that particular day. Yes, it did fall into line with things I was already starting to think about- like making more of myself and my life, being more for the people I care for. For all I know, it had nothing to do with me, maybe she needed to see me, or needed to think about her daughter that particular day for some reason, I don't know. But that doesn't mean I can't take a lesson away from our chance meeting; that I can't choose to see a sign in it.

I haven't been living these last few years, I've just been existing. Living doesn't have to mean running out to save the world- not all of us are capable of that, anyway-but it should mean appreciating the small moments, at least, the tiny, beautiful bits of hope and love that float in and out of our lives while they're here. Living should mean being a better person- not because of this person, or that reason, but simply because we're capable of it. If you can do something to improve a situation, and you accept that you can, it becomes your responsibility to do so, doesn't it?

I also believe that everything is connected. The universe is like a web, connecting everything that ever was to everything that is, or will be. In case you're wondering, that includes people XD. The cords that connect us all, they have a pulse . . . the universe has a heartbeat. To some, that sounds crazy, but to others-those who've felt it- this is not news, in fact, it might even be a relief to read someone else stating what you've already experienced. Like a song. Harmony, frequency, however you want to think of it . . . songs have a pulse, their own heartbeat, which is why we connect with songs on such deep, and individual level, why the speak to us on a level that is difficult to explain to those who 'don't get' music. What sounds like a heartbeat to me might be a discordant mess to you, and vice versa. We connect with that which speaks to us. Pulse to pulse, heartbeat to heartbeat.

I know it seems like I sidetracked just now, but I didn't, I only delved a bit deeper into what I was originally trying to say.

I'm done with simply existing. I chose to live


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