Sometimes things happen in our lives that are so tragic or unbearable, that we want to die. We want to throw in the towel, call it a day, and not have to endure one more moment of intense pain and heartache. If something this horrible has not happened to you yet, and of course I pray it never does, I urge you not to bury your head in the sand and think it won’t happen to you. Instead I suggest you consider this day a gift; a chance to strengthen your heart. This does NOT mean expecting the worst. It simply means preparing your heart the same way that you might winterize your home. It is a chance to be proactive instead of reactive.
Unfortunately, some of you may already be in this type of situation. Here is my experience. For quite awhile I wanted to die, but not because I hated life. Simply because I wanted to be with my husband again. Very matter-of-fact and logical, in my opinion. My faith tells me he is in Heaven and if I could just die I could hang out with him again, talk to him, laugh with him, hold his hand, smile at him, see his smile and so on.
Yet I was never suicidal, if that makes sense. And not for fear that would plummet me to hell. Again, only logic saved me. I knew if I died, best case scenario, I would get what I wanted and be with my husband, but then I would be a world away from my kids and I want to be with them too. I was in a conundrum. I faced an impossible choice in my broken mind: stay with my kids or go be with my husband. There being no answer, I let it ride on life.
The next stage I reached was indifference. This one was a real pleasure. Truth be told, there is a powerful freedom in the feeling that I am totally at peace with dying, but I am not doing anything to help it along. It is much more courageous to really want to live longer because over that we actually have very little control. And where we do not have control, fear thrives like the flu virus.
For years I swam in a sea of indifference. If I die that’s great because I get my husband back and if I live that’s great because I get more time with my children. Win-win. Lose-lose actually, but haven’t I been logical enough already?! As much as I enjoyed the power of life in indifferent land, over the years something has started happening. A little at first, and then ever more often. Something has been sparking inside of me involuntarily.
I have started to spark inside at the activation of certain senses or in certain moments…conversations, sunsets, rainbows, smiles, laughs, songs, cool breezes, furrowed brows, rays of sunshine, surprises, the touch of soft fur, the smell of tropical scents, rich colors, the peace of quiet, the touch of a hand, or a sweet smell that is tied to a happy memory. There are different things each day or week; some days a lot of sparks; some days virtually none. The sparks are as unpredictable as the weather, both in frequency, schedule and appearance.
This is the difference I think Oscar Wilde refers to between living and simply existing. We get so busy in life with responsibilities that we can go through our days existing, but not really feeling alive. Yet it’s a numbers game, right?! If we keep playing the odds and let it ride, also known as staying alive, ”ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive…” we will eventually feel some sparks. I think sparks are like God signs; the more we notice them, the more appear, until eventually, our cup overflows.
If we give up and take our life, we will have cheated ourselves out of who knows how many “sparks.” And for what?! You see, everyone told me I needed to survive this storm because my kids needed me, but that just did not hold water for me. I know my kids need me and I have no doubt that my living will give me time to shower them with love and support and life lessons and of course keep them from the unimaginable pain of losing me and living with my absence. However, I also truly and deeply believe that all we really need is God and if I were absent their lives, I have every confidence all the other incredible people in our lives would step in and over time fill the void and in their own unique way provide love, joy and peace for my children.
That gives me peace. I want to be needed, but as we all know, if we die, our “job,” whatever it may be, will get done if it has to be done. We are all replaceable. And yet, we are also all irreplaceable; each of us unique in so many ways. If we threw in the towel, we would simply extinguish our light from this world forever, robbing ourselves of all the “sparks” and robbing those around us of the richness of our unique illumination.
You do not have to see how your light shines now or will to make it worthwhile or true. Just be in it. In the last four years, some of my most powerful “sparks” have been incidental, unplanned, but REAL conversations and often with acquaintances and even strangers. What has sparked in you this day, week, or year? What might spark tomorrow? Only time will tell.
With love, sparks and hope for time,