Going Through the Motions? How Children Remind You of More….
To Live Like You Were Dying!
"And he said....'I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying'
And he said
'Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying' "
-Tim McGraw, lyrics from the song, Live Like You Were Dying
You might sometimes catch yourself thinking, “Is there more to life than just this routine?” Or perhaps you might even say to yourself, in going through the motions, “Why am I here when none of this really matters?” We have all been subject to roles and responsibilities that cause us to simply walk through the motions and live in the doldrums of dryness and monotony.
While one might be able to argue if a job matters or, on the other hand, does not matter much at all outside of a paycheck, the principles of parenthood, mentorship, relationships, and community remain paramount both now and tomorrow. Small moments with loved ones signify the times that make you want to “live like you were dying.”
When a situation seems bleak, do you remember the most important things in your life as opposed to the daily burdens of responsibility that make one question everything? For example, I sometimes feel frustrated when people make decisions for me, on my behalf, that do not make sense for all that are affected, which directly influences the role I play and thus my enjoyment of that role. Those scenarios impact me and those who must follow the specific policies in place, often for the self-interests of those who implement them. In other words, the interests serving the whole group are not the primary reasons or motivations for the decisions being rendered but rather only the self-indulgence of one or two people.
I get caught up in my disappointment with unmet expectations of what could be better. Emotions of anger, disappointment, and frustration can become misleading, even when so much good exists in the possibilities right in front of us. Positive thoughts lead to positive words that then lead to positive actions.
As Lisa and I are about to celebrate Annabelle's one-year birthday, my daughter’s smile reminds me to stay present in the moment I currently live in. Her positive vibes dancing to Motown music at Singo nights (Bingo with popular music titles) in a local Knoxville restaurant, hands in the air, waving them like we just don’t care, could certainly be the focus of my attention over the bore of a routine. Memories of her smile, much like Peter Pan and his son, Jack (plot from the movie, Hook), take me to my happy place, and it becomes essential that I do not forget that. And so, Annabelle has taught me some valuable lessons when I start walking through the motions of a routine, without focusing on or living for the moments that truly matter.
First, we must learn to focus on the joy of the incredible days more so than the disappointments of organizational wishful thinking. We cannot control the actions and decisions of others, even when those circumstantial compromises make no sense whatsoever.
Second, every time a negative thought enters our mind, we must make a legitimate effort to temper that negativity with seven positive notions of good things, those good things that bring you effortless joy. The obvious entity here would be Jesus. Try declaring how much Jesus rocks or how much God loves you seven times for every minute that looming negative sentiment comes forward.
Third, remember when and where God has shown up in the past, especially during those times of defined miracles in your life. We are quick to forget these blessings when our gloomy feelings get the best of us. God must have done something miraculous and good in your life. Jog your memory. Dig deep within and write it down. Remember the good He has done and the good He continues to do.
I will be the first to admit that life is not always super exciting and that I sometimes catch myself walking through life without much appreciation or acknowledgment for the intangible gifts blessed upon me. Life then becomes routine. It becomes uneventful. It becomes a walk through the motions of boredom and obligation. Try to catch yourself in these times of redundancy. Remember the three lessons Annabelle has taught me with consistent reminders. Focus on the incredible days. Counter mental negativity with internal positive statements. Remember when God showed up in your life and miracles were abundant. Then, eventually, joy will come again along with a sincere smile on your face. Yes, even though there is a time of waiting, joy eventually comes again.
Below you will see evidence from some the most recent Annabelle moments that remind me to "live like I was dying." This journey called life only comes once. Try to enjoy the path while you have it good, sometimes better than you might even realize.
(Caption: "My hair looks best when I wake up in the morning.")
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