All it takes in life to get a little motivation is a near-death experience. And for me, that was this past weekend (whether it was a true near-death or not). We had some pretty crazy lightning/wind storms over the weekend, 60+ MPH winds, lots of power outages, and wind damage. As far as my near-death experience, that’s where the lightning crashing comes into play. I was sitting on the couch Saturday evening watching Deadpool with my dad, and the wind and rain had just started picking up, causing us both to turn around and look out my front windows from the couch to watch. My son’s tiny plastic Adirondack chair lifted off the ground and flew across the porch, he loves that thing, so I jumped up and ran out of the front door to grab it and pull it inside. About that time, my heavy metal rocker came flying across the front porch. Without thinking I started to reach for it to bring it under the carport, and that’s when it happened.
Lightning cracked across the sky, a bolt shooting straight down and hitting a tree behind my neighbor across the streets house. And I don’t know how familiar you guys are with fireworks, but picture a mortar when you shoot it off. It flies up into the sky and when it explodes shoots a ray of sparks across the sky, following me? Well picture that mortar shooting straight down and exploding. That’s what this lightning did. It hit the tree and arcs of lightning shot out in every direction from there. There I am, staring at it with my hand less than a foot from a metal rocking chair, lost in the beauty of this massive spark of light. Then I saw an arc of lightning coming straight at my face, it was all happening so fast, but extremely slow motion at the same time. The bolt literally blinded me for all of a minute or two it was so bright, and it just stopped in mid-air, what felt like a foot from my face. I could feel the heat from it, that’s how close it felt. I grabbed the chair and ran to the carport and back inside.
There my dad was in my recliner hollering for me, as he could not get up and move fast enough to see if anything had happened. I walked into the living room, still kind of dazed from the course of actions that just happened. He kept saying my name over and over, and the only thing I could keep saying was “Oh my god, oh my god”. He thought the lightning actually struck me, needless to say someone was looking out for me. At that moment though, there on my front porch, my entire life flashed before my eyes just as bright as the lightning did. What does all of this have to do with anything though?
I realized my life has gone by extremely fast, that I had not cherished the little moments in life as much as I would have liked. I saw myself growing up, the happy and sad times. I saw when I was about 3 or 4 at my grandparents house and I took their bowl of M&M’s and dumped them into my sock hat so I could have some on the car ride home, but I put the hat on my head so nobody knew I took them. I fell asleep on the way home and my mom had to wash the food coloring out of my rainbow colored hair. I saw the car ride home from their house another time where I saw a giant angel picture inside a window of a shop on Morgan Avenue, trying to get my mom’s attention to tell her about it, and they told me to shut up because I was interrupting. We got home, and my parents asked what I wanted, so I told them and we went back to the shop; mom ended up buying it later. I was about 10 years old when I got knocked off of a dog house, fell on a piece of metal and sliced my leg open, had to go to the hospital and get 25 stitches on the side of my leg. It was about 1/4″ away from them having to amputate my leg from the knee down. I remembered my mother’s face when I ran in the house and showed her all the blood and cut, it was not until she freaked out screaming that I started crying. I saw my freshman football year, being the starting tailback, and moved to defense when we played against North because nobody could keep up with their star player. They put him on the opposite side of me, threw him a pass and he took off, all of my team missed him and I made a bee-line across the field, catching up about 15 yards away from a touchdown. I saw my Senior year prom, taking my “GWB” (see previous blog about love if you don’t understand the reference), and dancing our butts off all night; I felt the emotions of how crazy I was about her and could never fully tell her that I loved her. I saw my high school graduation, the strip club we went to after, eating at CiCi’s pizza, all the times we cruised Green River Road and the stupid things we did. I saw all the love’s of my life, the hookups and breakups, I saw when I proposed to my ex-wife and the smile on her face, I saw my wedding day in all of its glory and how horribly wrong everything went that day. I saw my son when he was just a few hours old, felt all that emotion flow over me again, the day we finally brought him home my dad drove us home in my grandparents car and drove about 20MPH the whole way home. I saw the text messages from my then wife telling me that my son was about to be born, and me telling her I was on my way to the hospital, and her telling me not yet to wait until about 9:00PM, I ended up working 13 hours that day just to be close to the hospital. I called my entire family and several friends to tell them that my son was going to be born that night, I was so excited. I saw Tuck’s first birthday, we had it at my best friends house because he had a lot of room, we did a Winter One-derland, he was so excited to have all his family around and all the toys and cake he got.
I realized at that moment that I needed to slow things down a little, and enjoy life more. To spend more time with family and friends, to stop and smell the roses, play with my children, teach my children about life and learn from them at the same time, and just overall fill my heart with love and treat people with respect. Life is too short not to enjoy it, time is far too valuable to waste. You never know when your life, or a loved ones life, could end. It can happen at any given moment; sickness, accident, natural causes, it can happen at any second of any day. The point is not to fear it, it will happen to all of us one day. I am adopting a quote by James Dean into my life, and am going to attempt to base my life on it from now on, “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die day today.” What I get from the quote is basically dream big, do not shy away from wanting the moon, from wanting to become something great, or do something even greater; but also live today as thought it could be your last. Take chances, be bold, enjoy your life. There is no reason not to go for something you want, nobody ever died from asking a question, the worst that can happen is you get told “no”. So why not embrace life? Make a bold move, and live your life the way you see fit. Stop being so scared of dying, and instead accept the fact that it will happen one day, but don’t be scared of it.
The best thing you can take away from reading this today, is this: “Be fearless. Take chances. You cannot live your life in fear of what can or might happen next. Life is about living, so live it!”