How on earth can I be saying “Happy Birthday” to myself today when I was born in July? Well, a year ago to the day I had open heart surgery. During this fun and exciting (small dose of sarcasm) experience, I had a brief flirtation with death. To my good fortune, the Creator, much like every hotel I have ever been to, didn’t have my room ready when I checked in. So, back I came to the land of the living. Apparently, I still have some work to do before my shift on earth comes to an end. Some of the folks at my day job started referring to me as Lazarus, the friend that Jesus had raised from the dead in the bible.
You would think the whole ‘coming back from the dead’ thing would have you waking up to a radical shift in the way you view life and the world. I can tell you, at least in my case, that is not how it worked. I did have a new appreciation for the song Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie. Beyond that, I was more focused on what was occurring in the present. Namely, the healing from the open-heart surgery and other exciting things that came with it. This is all chronicled in my third book, The Beat Goes On, which you can pick up at the link at the end of this blog. You can read what happened when I did briefly cross over and how it affected me. It is a fun and entertaining read I promise you.
Initially, there were far more changes to my thinking before the whole dying and being resurrected than after. I realized how what I left behind would end up being far more important than what I would take with me. That is something you can understand on the surface, but when you face the real possibility of not returning tomorrow, you wonder and worry if the people around you know how much you care about them. Did you leave enough life lessons to those who will come behind you? Did you say all that you had to say? Are all aspects of your life in order? There is a sense of urgency that develops. That is why I love the Native American saying “Today is a good day to die.” Meaning, if you live your life everyday as if you would die, then when it does happen, you will be at peace with it. As the days ticked down to my surgery, I also realized how fleeting life truly is. We never know how much time we have left, but we know it is less than the day before. It is like watching the sand go through the hourglass. We don’t know how much sand is on top, but we know it is getting less all of the time. This may sound a bit doom and gloom, but it really is not. The knowledge that one day you are going to die and it could be sooner than you think, is one of the best motivations to live life to the fullest.
One of the most interesting things that has happened since I came “out of the darkness and returned to the light” is that the lessons seem to continue you to come. I recall the first being the day I got out of the hospital. Having lunch with Margie and my mother, I recall looking around and realizing that few, if any of the people realized the lessons I had learned facing death and then returning from it. I wondered how many people knew about the hourglass? How many were focused on what they were leaving behind verses what they were taking with them? My greatest ‘birthday gift’ I received that day, was not only the revelations and lessons that were brought home emotionally and not just mentally, but the overwhelming desire to share as much of that knowledge with others. It began with my third book and continues with these daily blogs.
It should not take dying to realize how precious life is, but sometimes it does. Next time you look at an hourglass, I hope you develop the same urgency to make the most of your life that I do. Next time you spend a romantic evening with the one you love, or share a fun evening with friends, I hope you don’t pass on the opportunity to convey how much they mean to you. After reading this, I hope you focus a little more on what you will leave behind, and a little less on what you will take with you. If you want to help celebrate my second birthday with me, give me, and those you care about, the gift of sharing the inspiring words we share here with them. The more souls we can touch, the greater the impact we can make on this world. As a bonus, I suggest checking out the song Life is Beautiful from the band Sixx A.M.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE BOOK “THE BEAT GOES ON” AND LEARN ALL ABOUT MY RETURN FROM THE DEAD