Life and death have been on my mind lately. 

I just finished re-reading Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut. The story is complex but deals with the annihilation of the human race except for some ragtag castaways on an island in the Galapagos archipelago. Told by a ghost with very cavalier and smug opinions about the importance of life and death. Vonnegut’s world view, of course, shaped by the horrors of war and surviving the carpet bombing destruction of Dresden. 

Twenty two years ago on this date (April 4th) a very good friend of mine hurtled to his death from atop a high rise apartment building on rue Docteur Penfield. He was twenty-seven years old. He’d be forty-seven now. He finally achieved his goal.

My father-in-law is ninety and was recently released from a two week stay in hospital after a big scare because his heart is weak. He is quite adamant about doing all he can to stay alive. 

It got me to reflecting this morning about the contrast between people who choose death and others who choose life and others in between. 

Recently there have been friends who have endured gruelling bouts of chemotherapy and radiation and determined to beat it. Other friends were not as fortunate. Many are in limbo. Several stories of people close to friends (a father of one and the husband of a colleague of my wife) who chose medically assisted death because their suffering was immense. 

I respect people and their highly personal life and death decisions. I guess that makes me pro life although I don’t mean it in the anti abortion sense.

In between are people who seem to go through life just skimming the surface and not delving or seemingly cognizant of the wonderful gift of the world around us. Basic people do not interest me. I don’t respect them. “An unexamined life is not worth living”- Socrates

This morning a few lines of verse came to me. I wrote them down and picked up a guitar and said “B”  and this song just wrote itself. I wrote and recorded it all in about three hours. Not bragging. It just goes to show that being in the moment and being aware are two things I cherish and what could have been just an ordinary day became an extraordinary day by my being free to follow this muse.

I’ve known children who want to be older
older people who dye to be young
people discontent with their lot in life
they can’t "be", they need to become

they hate Mondays… Can’t wait for Fridays…
they hate weekdays…Can’t wait for holidays
what about the in between?
break out of your routine
be there….be aware

some people don’t even know they’re alive
they take this gift for granted
looking at the world with blinders on
they don’t want to understand it

willful ignorance.. ignorance is bliss
willful ignorance I’ll tell you this: 
get off your butts and live
life has so much to give
be there… be aware

I’ve known people who’ve been emptied out
they feel like they’ve been living through hell
they wake up in the dark even though it’s not night
they’re living in a prison cell

if you can call that living… they’ve given up
abandoned dreams …  abandoned hope
I wish this wasn’t so, I want to share what I know
be there… be aware….

I’ve known people desperate to die
life’s menu caused them great pain
every day they’d ask themselves why
why should they do it again?

what can I tell them?….what can I say?
I never walked in their shoes… I’ve never felt that way
one thing I know for sure 
my love for life is pure
be there…. be aware

I’ve also known people who were desperate to live
not ready to give up the ghost
they felt that life had much more to give
and wanted to live it to the utmost

what’s the hurry?… breathe in the air…
why worry? …..just be aware…
be there… be aware…

One thought on “Be There

  1. Thought provoking. The desire to live life fully and in the moment increases in direct proportion to the sand of life falling between my fingers. Took many lost years of sickness to appreciate life to the fullest now.


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