Driving in the middle lane on the eastbound frontage road of Loop 1604 about to turn northbound onto Blanco Road in San Antonio, TX, a song came on the radio that stopped me dead in my tracks. Uncontrollable tears flowed from my eyes as my hands began to shake on the steering wheel while I listened intently to every lyric of the masterpiece. It was one of those songs where you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard it for the first time...for the hundredth time. The year was 2004 and Tim Nichols and Craig Wisemen had just penned a song that would change the face of country music, altar the way American's lived their lives (if only for a brief moment), not to mention, make them a ton of money. Tim McGraw sang and made if famous..."Live Like You Were Dying" is it's title. The song talks about a middle-aged man who just received a cancer diagnosis and begins living his life like every day was his last.
I've never lived my life like I was dying though I found the lyrics of the song inspiring. I'm too worried about what's going to happen tomorrow or next week or five years from now to enjoy the simple pleasures of this day. Yes, I've done some things that others might not consider doing at the ripe 'ole age of 30 like quitting a corporate sales job with a steady salary, health benefits and a company car to be a waitress at a restaurant in Nashville in order to chase my dream of becoming a famous country singer. Do you know what I did the entire time I was in Nashville? Worry... Worry about what everyone thought of me, listened to "experts" tell me I was too old to start my journey and fret about how I was going to pay my next bill. I can honestly say there was not one minute while I was there that I took a deep breath, let it out and simply enjoyed the exact moment I was in. I was too worried about being judged or wondering how I was going to get to the "next level". It makes me sick to my stomach now as I feel like I wasted two years on worrying...not really living!
As our journey in New York is coming to an end, I found myself thinking about our time here and what it has meant to me.... to us.... to our future family. I'm proud to say, I've stopped and smelled the roses, the bacon cooking in our mini-kitchen, my husband after a work out, the diesel fuel of a city bus, the urine in the subway, the collective flavors and spices cooking up in a Manhattan eatery while enjoying the smallest place I've ever lived. The smells, while not always pleasant, were still smelled. For the past six weeks I've lived, like I'm living, and it has changed my life. I may not sky dive or ride 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu-Man-Chu but I've stopped every day, thanked God for giving me the gift of another day with my child still growing inside of me and another moment I'll never get back with the man I love most on this planet, Gayland Paffe. I've enjoyed the simplicity of a good cry over the third book I just finished called "Roses", the kindness of the ladies sitting next to us at dinner on Friday night at a little Italian Eatery that are just about to marry and start their own family, our doctor giving us her cell phone number and texting me back immediately when I reach out to her with a question, the fact I can finally let my eyebrows grow out since I don't have to see any customers right now...the list of "Live... like I am really living" goes on and on.
We live in a hustle and bustle society, I get it...when I'm not on mandatory medical leave I'm crazy with my life too. But I dare ask you, when is the last time you stopped to enjoy the smile on your child's face? Can you remember the last time you showed extra kindness to the checker at the grocery store? Why not stop your husband/partner when they get home from work, grab their face and really give them a kiss? Have you given thanks for the greatness God brought to this moment, today, this week - big or small? Have you told your spouse, children, parents, and friends that you loved them lately? It’s the little things that count the most!
So, while you're one day closer to dying (as we all are) why not stop and live? It may just change your life!