While sitting quietly, I listened while he talked about years that have “flown” by, and the changes that life had wrought, not just in the physical body, but the faded career, the fractured relationships, the plans that were collected in baskets of past thoughts and motives that never came to fruition. Perhaps it would have been easy to think his life was coming to a close, whether things were completed or not. After all, he wasn’t “young” anymore. I even hear it said, quite often, that someone had a “long life” as though that in itself makes it easier to accept the fact that life as we know it here on this earth will end. But as long as there is breath, and thought, there is the hope that this day is not the finale, and that this day holds meaning for each of us. He looked certain, confident when he said, “I still have music to play”.
These are the plans we make, and the hopes we hold, suddenly interrupted. Our plan may be as simple as what we need to pick up at the grocery for dinner. Our plan may be as complicated as how we hope to die, (at home, in our bed, surrounded by loved ones?).
In reality, they are probably all the myriad of things in between, the mundane and fantastic. I have been privy to countless discussions about the details of the final plan, but I remember most those whispered fears of my patients, things like: “Will I die the way dad did, raging at everyone?” or “Will I be able to die with dignity and peace, with my family near?” or “When I leave behind my children, will they remember me?” or “Am I dying soon?” And it makes me aware, as we awaken and plan our days, that like the rich man in the parable, who has plans to go into the city, and purchase more property, and execute the scheme for today, that instead, “this night his soul is required of him”…he didn’t know that he only had today left. A distant family member, just 35 years old with so much intent to continue experiencing life, died in a sudden accident; he is a reminder that today really might be the last day.
I love that our plan may still be to play music, to have another day to relish life, to live intentionally, to accomplish more, yet I am reminded, again, how little control any of us have in the numbering of our days. Remember to make this day count, delve deeply into the joy of the moment, give a big hug to the person near you, who loves you, and play the music you were intended to play, in this very moment, today… time is not waiting.