A little over a month ago, just a few days after Christmas to be exact, I was driving home from Ohio with my family when a song caught my attention. Usually on long road trips, I would have my iPhone earbuds in, listening to my pre-selected road trip playlist (I know…I shouldn’t do that!)
For whatever reason I wasn’t listening to iTunes that day, I was listening to the car stereo. And I’m glad. The song was “I Lived,” by One Republic. The chorus goes like this…
I, I did it all. 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!
The best moment of the song is when the lead singer says “I owned every second!” You can feel the gusto in his voice. It snaps. It plucks your heart and stirs your mind. I thought about a million things in the brief 3 minutes this song played. I thought about my children, my wife, our friends, the life we’ve been blessed with, and how often I take all of it for granted.
It’s true, and I’ve got a lot of growing to do. For some odd reason, I keep thinking I’ve got an abundance of time. As if the world will wait for me to make up my mind or get my act together. It won’t. And neither will life. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and look back with regret because I didn’t seize every moment I was given with my family. I want to tell a different story than many in this world will tell when it’s all coming to an end!
A story filled with laughter.
Fact is, we are moving so fast that we rarely stop to take things in, or have a good laugh at life. Maybe it’s because we take things too seriously. We drill down so hard on the facets of life that they’re no longer a privilege, and more of a duty.
If we’re not careful, this can harden our hearts, sour our attitudes, and make us too serious. This is my problem. I take life way too seriously, way too often. I become so driven to keep things in order, and get things accomplished that I fail to see the moments that deserve a laugh, like my son’s hilarious perspective on the world around him, or my daughter’s creative, fun-loving spirit.
I need to laugh more often. I need to lower the walls I’ve build, to keep me focused, and breathe a little deeper.
A story built on love.
I find myself thinking about how much I love my wife and kids, but not saying it as often as I should. Have you ever done this? This past weekend my two youngest daughters were in the musical Bye Bye Birdie in Indianapolis and they were amazing. As I watched them act and sing, my heart gushed with pride and love. As I sat in a chair in my living room last night, after the show, I watched them in the other room and thought to myself, “Boy, I love those two deeply!”
But thinking it and expressing it, are 2 very different things. I need to open my mouth and say it!
At the end of my days here on earth, I want to look back at a story filled with love that was expressed and not just considered.
A story built on living life to the fullest.
I read a story several years ago, about a family who found themselves sitting around bored on New Years Day, one year, and decided to do something about it. The “something” they did would be considered crazy by nearly everyone. They started a parade….yes, a parade, in their neighborhood….complete with floats, and balloons, and clowns, and a marching band. Crazy, right? It gets better. The parade became such a hit among their neighbors that they imposed a rule for it: No one could watch the parade, everyone had to participate!
This family decided that sitting around, and wasting life, wasn’t good enough. It was time to live. Today, their New Year’s Day parade is the most anticipated event of the year in their community. Everyone joins in. They even elect a parade king and queen from local nursing homes. It’s an event filled with love, laughter, togetherness, and fun.
Why don’t we do more of this? Not necessarily a parade, but fun? Togetherness? Fulfilling moments with our family?
Fact is, life isn’t slowing down. Nor is it yielding to our indecisiveness or busy schedules. Our children are growing up right before our eyes. Someday they will live in other cities and either have new last names or give your last name to someone else. We will be old and near the end of our days. What will you look back at the years gone by and be able to say?
I want to look back and say that I laughed, I loved, and I lived!
What is stopping you from living life to the fullest?