I saw this incredibly motivational piece, written by John Pavlovitz, the man who is fast turning into my favorite Gandhi, and I just had to share. It was originally published on johnpavlovitz.com.
Read and share your thoughts with us.
People die every day.
I realize that this isn’t news to you.
You’re probably not receiving it as a particularly profound idea.
I know you know this reality; that your brain understands it, but I guess I thought your heart needed to be reminded today.
Forgetting is sometimes our greatest failure, our most grievous sin.
People will die today.
People are dying now.
Thousands will simply and stunningly cease to breathe, in the time it takes to read this; fathers, wives, children, friends, mentors, co-workers, neighbors.
Their hearts will beat, and then they will not.
They will be here, and then the hereafter.
For most of the people who die today and those who love them, they won’t see it coming. The majority of them won’t wake up thinking, “This is the last time I’ll do this.” They won’t consider that this will be their last trip around the sun, or to work, or to the grocery store, or to the park, or to their kid’s bedroom.
They may not have what you have, if you’re reading this.
They may not have Now to do something with.
People will surely die today, and that should matter greatly to you who are living: It should make you live differently.
Because people will die today, break out your dream.
It’s time to get that thing out of storage, dust it off, and open it up; the one you’ve left dormant on the shelf forever, the one you’ve procrastinated away for years, the one you’ve been perpetually saving for later. This is later, friend. Today is the waiting canvas for the original masterpiece that’s inside of you, and since the time you have to work on it isn’t something you can control, make your mark now.
Because people die every day, say everything.
Speak fearlessly and loudly about the things you believe most deeply; because your voice is a gift to you and to those who will listen. it’s the unique, never-to-be-repeated-in-history sum of all that you’ve seen, and walked through, and suffered with, and overcome, and learned, and felt. So before that voice is stilled to silence, while the breath is still within you to do so; speak it all. Words can and do change the world. Let yours change it.
Because people die every day, consider your ripples.
Carefully weigh the impact of your life on other people; those you know intimately and live with, those you see from a distance, and those whose names and faces you’ll never know. Realize that there are clear ripples that move outward from your life and into the lives of those who share this space with you. They are the result of the conversations you have, the words you speak, the things that you do, and the things you fight for. What do you want to be left in the wake of your movement here? Decide, and move accordingly.
Because people die every day, ask big questions.
Wrestle with what you believe; about God and life and death and how we got here and why we’re here, and what happens afterward. You will likely never get all of those questions answered in the way you want, and you may not reach the conclusions you hope to, but the very act of asking those questions will cause you to see everything here differently. Regardless of the answers your soul receives, or whether it yields religious faith or the rejection of it; the seeking itself will change how you define success and purpose and meaning, and if you ask those questions honestly, the questions themselves will alter you.
Because people die every day, adore what is close.
Cherish and celebrate those you’re blessed to have next to you in this life; the ones that are so easy to miss, or neglect, or forget, or become used to. Your time with them is both invaluable, and so very easy to waste. Soak-up every gorgeously ordinary moment with them, because they will be the ones you treasure some day. Be generous with your affection, and your embraces, and with words that give life. Love them openly and effusively, to the point of embarrassment. Realize that the final conversations with those who mean so much to you, will likely never seem that way, so choose your words carefully.
Because people die every day, aspire to love.
Practice compassion. Cultivate gentleness. Learn benevolence. Ultimately, everyone around you is delicate, and brittle, and terribly temporary. Life is too short and too fragile to spend any of it doing damage to people if you can help it; and so often, you can. It’s a waste of the fading seconds you and they both have, to intentionally cause injury or bring violence or nurture hatred. With the little time we get here, Love is the only worthy act of one human being toward another. Aspire to this.
I know you have plans today, both great and ordinary.
There are things on your schedule, appointments and meetings to attend, lists to cross off, drop-offs and pick-ups to make, things you’re really looking forward to and stuff you’re dreading. There are conversations you’re planning to have, and meals you’re preparing, and deals you’re working on, and fun stuff you’re excited about.
I hope you get to experience every single one of them today, and that you also get tomorrow.
But more than that, I hope you see today for the beautiful, fleeting, precious gift that it is, and respond like you get it.
The greatest victory you can have is that when death does come, that it interrupts you really living.
Because people will die today; please live.