"Live life so completely that when death comes to you like a thief in the night, there will be nothing left for him to steal." - Anonymous
"Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live." - Norman Cousins
The #1206 “fiction” series continues …
“What do you want to do today?”
The question burned in Abigail’s mind as she drove along the highway, her mind occupied by the question she had asked Gabriel before setting off for the day. It was part of their early morning routine – making love, breakfast, shower and then the inevitable “What do you want to do today?”. Life had given her the freedom to do whatever she pleased but she found that the city she lived in was starting to disappoint her when it came to offering “things to do” and with that, the question had become difficult for them to answer in recent weeks.
Some days it was frustrating, other days they managed to find something to do and on other days, they just couldn’t see why they were here at all.
Her brow furrowed as she reflected on this and in her moment of total concentration, she also didn’t see the semi to her right that lost control and careened across four lanes before crushing her car.
Abigail awoke with a start and realized that she was sitting on a plush chair in a softly lit room. “Wasn’t I just driving on the highway?”, she thought.
“Disorientation is normal”, a gentle voice on the other side of the room said, “Please relax.”
Abigail jumped slightly on hearing the voice and realized it had come from a person sitting opposite her. Try as she might, she could not make out any features of the person, being obscured by the soft shadows that fell around the source of the voice. She attempted to stand up and realized that she couldn’t.
“Relax”, said the voice, “You are in no danger.”
“Where am I?”, asked Abigail, “I could have sworn I was just driving my car.”
“You are safe”, replied the voice, “That is all that matters right now. I have something to show you but first I need to ask you this. How well do you think you have lived your Life up to this moment? Do you believe you have lived it to your fullest potential, Abigail?”
“What do you mean?”, Abigail asked, her brow furrowed in confusion. “How do you know my name?”
“Observe”, the voice replied, ignoring her questions.
Off to her right, an image formed, holographic in form. Abigail stared at the “movie” that played before her.
She watched a woman sobbing, her head in her hands as her children stared at her helplessly.
Then the image changed and was replaced with someone else receiving bad news about their business. “If only I had had the courage to take action earlier”, the person in the movie said.
The image changed again and Abigail watched in horror as a man savagely beat a woman.
Once more the image changed and she saw a young person sitting in a bedroom, a gun in his hand. The person lifted the gun towards his head …..
And suddenly the images were gone.
Abigail swallowed hard and turned back to the mystery host. “Who are they?”, she asked.
“They were people who were waiting for you”, replied the voice, “But you never showed up.”
“What do you mean, ‘I never showed up’?”, asked Abigail.
“Well”, the voice replied, “We spent years creating just the right experiences for your Life so that you would acquire the skills, knowledge and opportunity to help them but you chose not to honor the gifts or the responsibility we provided to you. In not honoring them, you condemned to failure those whom you had been prepared to help.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about”, Abigail said earnestly, “I don’t even know these people.”
“That is true”, replied the voice calmly, “You don’t. However, the gifts we had provided to you were intended to be shared with others who would in turn influence others and so on until the right people got to the people you saw at just the right moment.”
Abigail sat in silence, bewildered by what the voice was telling her.
“I suspect”, continued the voice, “That perhaps you may have been waiting for just the right moment to help others or to do more for others. Would that be a lie?”
“That’s not a lie at all”, replied Abigail, “I’ve been very busy ….”
The voice cut her off.
“So if that’s the case”, it asked, “What would you consider to be the key things you need before doing more for others? What is the one thing that, if it occurred, would enable you to do more for others?”
Abigail paused, struggling to answer the question.
“You can’t think of anything, can you?”, asked the voice.
Abigail shook her head slowly.
“And so the question becomes ‘If not now, then when?’”, observed the voice.
“If I had known what you are telling me, then I would have done something about it”, Abigail said, resisting the message that the voice was sharing.
“Are you sure?”, asked the voice, “How do you know? Give me one definitive piece of proof to support what you just said. We provided the gifts, the resources, the time and the opportunity. What else did you need?”
Abigail was silent once again.
“We set everything up perfectly”, said the voice, “All you needed to do was your part. By choosing not to do your part, you prevented others from playing their part for others. How does this make you feel?”
Abigail felt her eyes tear up but she remained speechless.
“Do you not pray and read your Bible every day?”, asked the voice gently.
Abigail nodded quietly.
“Then either you believe what you practice and know that you have an Advocate in your corner who would not allow you to fail in the actions you take or you don’t believe such an Advocate exists, in which case you are wasting your time with empty words imploring guidance from a non-existent source of help”, asserted the voice.
“I believe”, said Abigail.
“If you believe but don’t take action, I would posit that you are either wasting your time or the time of the Person you are praying to when you ask for support or guidance regarding actions you never take”, challenged the voice.
Abigail said nothing.
“Then what are you waiting for?”, asked the voice insistently.
“I don’t know”, mumbled Abigail.
“All of these things you endure in your Life are for a reason”, the voice said, “If there were no reason for the things you enjoy and endure, then Life would mean nothing. What would be the point of Life if that were case?”
The voice paused for a moment before continuing.
“Think of this”, it said, “Think of your time like money in the bank. You can go to your bank and ask for an account balance – how much you have earned, how much you have spent and how much you have left. You can always add more money any time you want. Time is nothing like that. You can’t ask what your initial deposit was, you can’t add more to your time account and once you have spent it, you cannot earn more. Once the account is empty, it is too late to do anything with it. Do you understand?”
Abigail nodded, still saying nothing.
“You must leave in a moment”, said the voice, “But first, it is important for you to understand the gifts you have been given, to understand what they are capable of producing and to understand the importance of exercising them vigorously every day. They will provide a means of creating outcomes you are meant to produce for yourself and others. Does this make sense?”
“Yes it does”, replied Abigail.
“Good”, said the voice, “Observe.”
Once again, a holographic image appeared next to Abigail and she saw images of herself. One moment she was talking to a group of people, another time she was writing to someone, another time she was serving food to the homeless and finally, with some shock, she observed herself chatting happily with the President of the US.
“All things are possible to those who believe it to be so”, noted the voice.
She shook her head, not comprehending what she was watching.
“For those to whom much has been given, much is expected”, the voice continued.
Abigail started to speak but she was interrupted.
“Wait”, ordered the voice.
The image was replaced by the image she had seen earlier, of the young person lifting the gun up to his head. As tears flowed down his face and he mentally said goodbye to the world, his phone chirped and he saw a text message scroll across the top of the screen. “You are a great person”, it read, “I need to give you a hug today.” The person dropped the gun beside him and as he wept in gratitude, he picked up his phone and texted back “I would like to get a hug from you today.”
“Now you understand”, said the voice as the image faded, “Our actions, good and bad, touch thousands of people we will never know. Now I have one question for you before you go.”
Abigail returned her attention to the direction of the voice.
“You asked Gabriel earlier today “What do you want to do today?”. Now I ask you, Abigail, “What do you want to do today?”
Abigail opened her mouth to speak ….
“Blood pressure is stabilizing, doctor”, came a voice outside of Abigail’s peripheral vision.
Abigail suddenly found herself lying on her back, staring into bright lights and surrounded by masked people.
A masked face leaned in to hers, looked deeply into her eyes, said “Hang in there, Abigail. You’re going to be ok. You don’t know how lucky you are today.”
Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew.
To be continued.
© 2015 – Harry Tucker – All Rights Reserved
May this serve as an inspiration and not a condemnation.
Do something for someone today ….
While you still have time …
And while they still do.
This series, a departure from my usual musings, is inspired as a result of conversations with former senior advisors to multiple Presidents of the United States, senior officers in the US Military and other interesting folks as well as my own professional background as a Wall St. / Fortune 25 strategy and large-scale technology architect.
While this musing is just “fiction” and a departure from my musings on technology, strategy, politics and society, as a strategy guy, I do everything for a reason and with a measurable outcome in mind. :-)
This “fictional” musing is a continuation of the #1206 series noted here.