My New Year’s Eve didn’t turn out as I expected. After all of our planning and excitement to welcome in a new year, we were settling in for a great night of celebrating with good friends. As we sat down for dinner, I got a call from my mum, telling me through her heartbreaking sobs that my grandmother had just passed away. My scene quickly transitioned from clinking glasses of champagne to making cups of tea and bringing in the New Year with my family by my grandmothers bedside. It was such a strange feeling of deep sadness to say goodbye, combined with a deep gratitude for her long beautiful life, as well as a relief that this race was finally over for her and she could rest, eternally. Death has a strange way of drawing life back to the basics. Family, love, relationships, and asking the question: what matters most to you? As I held my grandmothers hand, in that moment, I was reminded how precious and fragile life is. The quote that stayed in my mind over that time is from Mary Oliver’s poem, A Summer’s Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I’ve heard this quote many times, I have friends who have it up on their walls and yet, I’m not sure if I’ve tried to put words to the answer. So I started to break it down and ask myself daily, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life…today?”
Everyday my response has been different but the common theme is that each day, this question has given me the courage to do something a little different. Today? It led me to write this blog. Yesterday? It inspired me to take my kids out after their bedtime for ice-creams at a lookout that showcases all the lights of the city. Last week? I tried a new class at the gym I’ve been wanting to go to, but hadn’t, because I knew no one and didn’t know If I had the fitness to make the whole class. Who knows where it will take me tomorrow. There’s something about this question that, for now, has a way of clearing out all the petty things that I can get sucked into and injects a bit of perspective back in my day. There is a strange thing about death that gives you an immense gratitude and hunger for life. I don’t pretend that this will last forever, being hyper-aware of what each day can hold but I’m going to ride this wave as long as I can and hopefully then, create reminders for myself. Because…
LIFE IS A GIFT
It is no accident that you are here, in this moment in history. I believe that everyone is made with purpose and for a purpose. Your purpose is different to mine and what is brave, daring, creative and fulfilling to you will look different to others. All the more reason for you to live it, TODAY. Even just a little bit, just a step. You can make a decision any day of the week that could have a profound impact on the direction of your life. Send the email, connect with that friend, forgive that person, have the hard conversation, write the song, go for the run, take that class, learn that language, say that prayer. I have no idea what ‘doing something a little different’ today looks like for you but I know for me, even just the smallest, seemingly insignificant actions, have brought so much joy to my everyday life lately. That’s why I wanted to share it because as I said, I’m sure this awareness of the fragility of life will not always be as prominent as it is in this season and I will want a reminder, so maybe you do too.
Although it can sometimes be confronting, death also offers the beautiful reminder to make the most of everyday. Not to put off the things that we want to try, live or experience. Most importantly, not to put off being with the people we love. Nana, I’m sure you didn’t intend to give me deep life lessons or crazy inspiration by your bedside, but you did, and I’m forever grateful. Thank God for the gift of your life, Merna Wilson, I love you forever.
So now, you tell me, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
P.S We have LOVED hearing your stories from around the world about your planning and dreaming dates! Please keep sharing your thoughts and inspirations with us!