Monday, December 30, 2013

My Defining Dash

Today is my birthday. Forty-seven candles to top my cake. This has been a defining year for me. Forty-six has probably brought me to ponder more than any other year. My dad died at the age of forty-six. I was nineteen. Nineteen and green as could be. At nineteen, forty-six seems pretty old. You know, forty-six is young. To realize that my dad was such a such young man when his life on this earth ended is powerful for me. It is a reminder that it's not the year I was born that is important. 1966. Nor is it the date when I breathe my last breath. It's the dash in between that counts. 

I have to be honest and tell you that this entire year of forty-six has made me wonder if I would reach forty-seven. I have now outlived my dad. His birthday was in December as well. He loved birthdays and Christmas. He loved celebrating. Put him in a bass boat and he was one happy man. He learned at forty-five that lung cancer would take his life. Chemo would only give him a few more months. My dad bought a bike. He got on that bike every day and road for miles through the country. I can only imagine what his thoughts held as he rode through the country and over the railroad tracks. That is where he would turn around and head home. It's there on those tracks that I saw him riding as I was on my way home from work. I wanted him to put his bike in the truck and let me take him home. He only smiled and said, "I'm gonna ride longer, Rob. I will be home later." He chose to live in the moment. 

Everyone knew my dad was going to die. Everyone except me that is. I remember when summer came that year. I was sitting next to my dad on our picnic table as he ran his hand through his hair. His hair was in his hand. He looked at me and said, "Rob, I won't be here this time next year." I was nineteen and never imagined my life without my dad. It was inconceivable to me. I refused to believe it. I looked at him and said, "Dad, you will always be here." That April after Easter Sunday he died. 

So, see this has been a defining year for me. Forty-six was a year I seen my dad live with courage and dignity. He fought to live. I don't want to look back on my life and wish I would have fought to live. I want to live today. I want to experience life in it's most precious form. 

It's living and not looking back with regret. It's not wishing away my today for a greater tomorrow. It's taking the moment and embracing everything it holds. It's not taking tomorrow for granted or holding on to yesterday. It is taking every single minute and using it up. It's realizing the possibilities when all seems bleak. It's seeing the opportunities in the smallest of moments. It's not complaining, but expressing gratitude. 

It's loving who I am. It's growing into the woman God has created me to be. I want to experience forty-seven and all it holds. I want to take forty-seven and climb mountains and leap for the tallest buildings. I want to stretch myself. Go beyond my greatest fears and allow nothing to hold me back. 

My dad didn't experience forty-seven. I want to do more than just wake up each morning. I want to experience living. I want to enjoy my forty-seven! I want to make an impact. I want to enjoy life. I want to live a passionate life mixed with compassion and grace. I want to share the Lord in everything I do. Yes, I wanna live in such a way that when others look at me they say, "Yeah, I want what that girl has!" 

I want to think before I speak. I want everything I write to be powerful and have lasting meaning. From the first cup of coffee in the morning to the moment I slip into my pajamas and lay my head to rest I want each moment to be rich with love and purpose.

I want my life to speak that I was a Jesus girl. I want others to see my life and say, "Jesus looked good on her." I want my life to be more than myself. I want my actions to speak louder than my intentions. Yes, I want to soak up life and laugh louder. I want to use up everything the Lord has given me. 

As I look back upon my life there are moments I didn't think I would make it through. But by the grace of God here I am today to celebrate forty-seven. Don't wish for tomorrow without living today. Let go of yesterday and so you can embrace all today holds. Accept who you. See the beauty that you hold within you. Living takes courage. Don't wait for your life happen. Live it today! 
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