Even crooked trees grow up to be as strong and mighty as the straight ones.
We’ve all felt like the crooked tree in the forest at one point or another, not quite fitting in.
I used towonder how will I (a self professed crooked tree) be remembered?At some point or another we all question how others willremember us after we pass on. Well, I got to find out, except I’m still living. After I nearly diedandthroughout mymiraculous recovery from it, I’ve heard the memories and impressions that people had of me.It’s been a mixture of surprise andincredibly surreal. However, it also bears the marks of sadness becauseas much as I’d like to I cannot revisit and relive the past. Therefore, Ialso can’t go back and change it, but I can change the future. Although, none of us truly have control we do have the power to make choices. In fact we make thousands each day(knowingly and unknowingly) however small they may seem. This begs the question “How would you like to be remembered?” For being strong, tenacious, brilliant, ambitious, or kind? Rather thanunkind, lazy, or at a stand still in life I’m sure. I’ve been more than surprised(and blessed) to hear that the last memories of me would’ve been greatly positive. This confirms that I’ve had a great life and left the kind of mark on it I want to thus far(and I’m not finished! You too can leave the marks you desire, and there’s no time like the present in which to start. Sometimes, life can be daunting and it seems better to take the path of least resistance, but I promise there’s more rewardsto be had from thepath less traveled. You can start today planting seeds for the future(whether straight or crooked) that will grow into trees looming in a forest comprising the memories of you.There are hardly words to describe how truly wild life can be. Since this whole event occurred to me(iethe massive stroke)hardly a day has gone by where I’m not in awe of the things that I’ve seen since. Just as a huge wave of love, and the best came out of New Yorkers after 9/11; I have witnessed much of the same from people after my own disaster. This has left me a better person andwith the conviction, that it shouldn’t require a disaster to bring out the best in us. We canchoose to be our best selves everyday.
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.”
We have a problem with matching our thanks to the level of the gift given. Oftentimes wefeel that We cannot fully reciprocate or conveygratitude properly, when were given somethingbig(see here!)or a pricelessact of kindness.I’ve not only receivedloads of physical help, but alsothe gift of a nice meal out, gifts of someone’s time, and help from kind strangers.Among thesehave been the gifts that are priceless and bear nofeasible value. It’s when someone gives a part of their life in order to make yours better, that requires anacknowledgementthatit seems we cannot
match. Is athank you card sufficient? A hug, a gift card, a favor, a nice dinner perhaps? No, none of these will do, because the best thank you is to live fully and well. The reasonthis is sufficient is because when someone pours themselves into you, pour all that you can of yourself back intoyour life. People help in these priceless ways because they sincerely want to see you triumph in life. My friends, family, and some strangers didn’t giveof their time and money when I was in an ICU to witness me die, but tosee me survive and thrive.Of course, when someone gives from their heart they don’t expect or even want something in return. However, the best and only wayI can thank them is to live well. The life that they put into me deserves to begiven a return. This return on investment can be achieved if Iput my spirit into achieving my dreams and living the life they want to see me have. Because of what they’ve given me, I will not quit, give up, or waste any of thier priceless gifts. Therefore, thank those that have given to you by living well and enjoying each day you have, because as I learnedyou never know when those days could end.
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”
Even though it’s been over 20 yearssincehis death, John Lennonspeaking from the grave is still inarguably correct. Although it seems the obvious conclusion,many people still need reminding. It’sapparent that with so much hurting in theWorld, love is the solution. If only peopleknew how much they were loved I suspectyou’d see many more happy and healthy people. This is also whypeople preach of God’s(or “the universes”)love. Because,imagine if We were fulfilled in knowing that were deeply loved? I suspect that those empty places that each of us try to fill(some negatively) would cease to be aproblem. Instead of lookingoutside ourselves or to other people, perhaps We need to turn our gaze inward and upward. To love and be loved is tobe fulfilled and contented. The world has made a mess of love, but ideally it’s unconditional love that should bepursued. In order to show this kind of love, We first need to have been loved this way.TheWorlddemonstrates that love is simply afeeling or emotion. However, love is learned(a very intelligenttherapist told me this). Ifyour not shown or have experienced a healthy love, it’s more likely you will not know how to love others in a healthy way. This ishow the problems ensue. If weare not given or shown love properly,that leaves room for dysfunction to creep in. This cycle perpetuates as generation after generationhasmissed the mark. The world certainly has perfected what love is NOT(see here!) When you know yourtruly and deeply loved, this carves out a rock solid foundation on which to buildthe highest of buildings. Without a solid foundation, the building will falter,as do We. When love fills in the gaps it allows us to reach our potential and soar. In order for this to happen, it seems the world and everyone in it needs to be rewired. This seems like an impossible and daunting task,except it isn’t.A revolution never started out of nothing but with one determined person. You don’t need a like minded mob to create change(although it helps)it can begin with one! If you are fulfilled with love, pay itforward and help create a domino effect. A master painting doesn’t just start out as a finished work,it begins with a singlesmall brush stroke. You can be that first brush stroke in a series leading up to a Mona Lisa!There is no time like the present,and why waituntil tomorrow for what you can do today?
“They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad that I’m going to miss mine by just a few days.” -Garrison Keillor.
I’ll admit, I’ve gotten teary eyed at the thought of my own death and imagining my funeral. However, I didn’t consider how the other people would feel at my funeral. Perhaps this was a sign of my selfishness. As people We all fall prey to thisselfish thinking. That is one of the biggest reasons why I don’t bother caring what other people think about me. Because frankly, no one is likelythinking that much about you except yourself! In opening up to other people more I’m more likely to feel emotion for them,whichnaturally leads to a deeper connection. After being seriously hospitalized I no longer had to imagine my funeral, because I narrowly missed it in reality.This time around in thinking about itI became teary eyed for other people. This is because not too long ago my Fathergave me amentalpicture of a moment in time that I was not present for. At the time I was in a coma which effectively blanked out a large portion of(20 days)consciousness. In sharing a personal memory He gave me an inroad to his reality during that time. While I wasin a coma, He played thumb war with my limp right hand. This is significantbecause as a child We often played this silly game. All I could think of is how alone in a Hospital room He took my lifeless hand aside and triedto bring some life back into that same small hand, just as it was when I was completely okay. This brought into reality someoneelse atmy funeral. The thought of another person’s heartbreak, brought tears to my eyes andnot just for myself. It pained me to think of my sweet Father watching hisonly child dying,and so badly wanting that little girlof thumb war days back.Imagine if We were all as receptive to each others feelings?How then,would the world change? I wouldn’t doubt that such a thing would make World peace and the need for charities disappear. I have also found that thehappier I am in myself and excited about life, I naturally begin to connect with my fellow human beings(or want to for that matter). This is because it has a way of expanding your heart’s boundaries.