You’ve been good to me. For 45 years you’ve molded me for this moment. You’ve steered me through mountains and valleys…through moments of magnificence and times of deep, sorrowful darkness. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed…so hard it hurt. I haven’t always appreciated you. I’ve taken you for granted…often. Then you’re stolen prematurely from an undeserving soul…a young mom, a teenage boy, a newborn infant and I realize how fragile you are. I realize I need to handle you gently and lovingly. I see how one moment you are completely here and the next you’re in some other world.
As I look in the mirror, I see marks all over myself that tell our story. The lines etched around my eyes are the laughs I’ve accumulated over the years. I hated them at first…those wrinkly laugh lines. Now at 45, I see them as happiness and wisdom. They remind me how far I’ve come. They remind me that I’ve laughed often and that I need to keep my joy…deep down into my soul. The silvery marks tattooed on my belly represent four of the greatest gifts you’ve ever given me. Happiness and angst and worry rolled into four distinct, integral parts of me. You were so generous with these gifts and as I’m tempted to disavow the marks on my belly, I look at them and I’m thankful for those four precious lives that left them there.
In spite of the craziness and hate and sadness in the world…I’m happy. Stable. Content. But am I where I’m supposed to be? Have I given enough back to you when you’ve given so much to me? I want to leave my handprint on the clay of this world. I want to make a difference in some minuscule way. I want us to grab hands, put our arms in the air and live loudly, with purpose and conviction. I don’t want to be a bystander and lazily watch you go by. When it’s time for us to part, I want to see you laid out before me and be able to say I lived. I lived and I loved and I participated with every cell of my being.
You haven’t been easy and you haven’t always been fair. Sometimes I’ve felt like a passenger on a train, watching out of the window as you fly by in a blur. I wanted to yell slow down…you’re going way too fast. But I see now, it’s me who needs to slow down. You will keep marching on. You will keep turning the pages of my book. It’s me who has to step in front of you, open my arms and my heart, and embrace you. I love you Life and I’m ready. I’m ready to live boldly and with purpose and to laugh freely and frequently. When I feel joy welling up inside me, I’m ready to pass it on. I’m ready to love intensely and completely. I hope we have many more years together but, if somehow our time is cut short, I want to know that I loved….with every centimeter of my being, I loved!
With warmth and gratitude,
Your Always Faithful Friend