Facing the diagnosis
I’ve been diagnosed. It’s terminal. They don’t know how long I have. Could be days, could be years.
They said it was actually something I was born with that can be activated by any number of things. In fact, they said everyone has it. It’s just a matter of time before it kicks in. It’s the deadliest killer on the planet — more people die from this disease than any other.
That’s about all they know about it. It’s caused by such a wide range of things that they can’t categorize it.
Truth is, I wasn’t that shocked when I heard the news. I’ve had an intuition about it.
The technical term for my disease is death.
Have you ever heard Tim McGraw’s song, Live Like You Were Dyin’?
It talks about a man diagnosed with something serious that stopped [him] on a dime, after which, he says, I spent most of the next days, lookin’ at the x-rays, talkin’ ’bout the options and talkin’ ’bout sweet time.
What do you think about and what do you do when this happens? His answer is in the chorus:
“I went sky divin’,
I went rocky mountain climbin’,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull name Fumanchu.
And I loved deeper,
And I spoke sweeter,
And I gave forgiveness I’ve been denying,
And he said someday I hope you get the chance,
To live like you were dyin’.”
And I have to ask: Who isn’t dying? Who on earth isn’t getting closer to death with each and every living breath?
Why do we wait for a serious diagnosis before living life to the fullest? We were born with the only diagnosis we need.
I guess we spend our days in such deep denial of our mortality that we need a serious reminder to wake us from our delusion.
Here’s your reminder: You are going to die. YOU are going to die. You are going to die.
I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But that day is barreling down the tracks like a speeding train and there’s no escaping it, no controlling the timing.
Stare hard at that x-ray of reality and ask yourself some hard questions. What are you doing about it? What needs to change? How’s your bucket list coming?
And let me give you a caveat on your bucket list: There’s a style of bucket list living that’s actually just another manifestation of denial and delusion. It’s the desperation of irresponsible adventuring, the frantic craving of hedonism.
I’m not talking about living with the monkey of constant fear of death on your back.
I’m talking about staring death in the face and accepting its inevitability with peace, love, and absolute surrender.
No fear. No desperation. No denial. No attachment. No regrets.
Don’t go crazy. Go real. Go authentic.
Be who you were born to be with no fear of what others will say, taking no thought for the morrow, viewing failure as nothing but an opportunity to learn and grow.
I’m not talking about flinging off the chains of propriety and letting it all hang out like a rebellious teenager. I’m talking about embracing the gift of death and letting go of all your fears and attachments like an enlightened soul.
I’m talking about uncontracting, releasing what has been inside you since birth but you’ve clutched tightly and hid from the world.
Anais Nin said,
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Let today be that day. You’ve seen the x-ray. You know the risk.
Don’t leave this dimension as a tightly-constricted bud — leave as a fully-blossomed flower.
I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying. Because you are.