Saturday, August 18, 2012

If not now.....when?

I took an online writing class this summer, VerbTribe, offered by the author of Life is a Verb, Patti Digh.  For those of you unfamiliar with that book (I offered a series of writing prompts about two years ago based on its contents)....it was born out of the death of her step-father.  He was diagnosed with cancer and told he had just a few months to live -- 37 days later, he was gone.  Since that time, 37 days has become a significant demarkation of time in Patti's life, and she asks her readers this basic question:  If you knew you only had 37 days left to live (and truly who knows how many days we have left) - how would you live your life?

On the day of our final VerbTribe conference call this summer, Patti's husband was diagnosed with cancer.  One week later Patti turned 53 years old --- the age of her father when he passed away - and her eldest daughter turned 20, the age Patti was when her dad passed.  In addition, Patti had submitted the manuscript of her newest book to her editor just one week prior to the diagnosis.  The topic?  Grief and Loss.  An amazing set of coincidences, don't you agree?

So Patti has decided to do what she does best and write - documenting events, thoughts, feelings and insights.  In the process of sorting through all these changes in life, Patti discovered that there are exactly 137 days from her birthday until New Year's Eve.  Another coincidence (?)

And Patti has decided to use this opportunity to build community.  She is now offering an online course, Project 137, where we can join her on this journey of self-discovery through writing prompts from now until December 31.  The cost is whatever you choose to give - and ALL proceeds go towards medical bills, which are overwhelming due to the fact that they are currently un-insured!

I realize that this course may not be for everyone - but if you are at all interested, I urge you to check it out and consider it.  The writing prompts are thought-provoking, and the donation is for a great cause.

In the meantime....I want to share the prompt from the first day.  I am still thinking about it - and the truth contained - and how I can begin to take those first steps toward living fully:


For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to still be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.             -Alfred d'Souza

Suffice it to say...I think I have been waiting a long time for life to get perfect before I start living - and I have missed the point.  I used to think, when the children were young, that I would start living when....

  • they would sleep through the night (and truthfully, I am a more functional human being when I have had 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep).  
  • Then it became, I would start living when they all would be in school.  
  • Then I thought I would start living when we entered the empty-nest phase of life.  
But guess what?  With each phase of life there comes joys - and there comes sorrows; there is a renewed sense of freedom on the one hand, and newfound responsibilities on the other.  As I have been reminded several times this summer during my devotional readings:


If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything.              (Ecclesiastes 11:4 - Good News Translation)

No, life is not perfect, but life is good.  And it is time to start living --- because if not now, when?!

3 comments:

  1. Living in the here and now has been a challenge. If not now...when? Good question. I have a list of things to do when I retire (in the next 2 - 5 years) Must I wait? To buy a kayak, yes. But to rent one and have fun now...no. Thanks for the nudge! PS glad you're back.

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  2. It sounds like you are in or headed to a great place!

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  3. Very thought-provoking prompt. I think we all wait for "one day" and end up missing the beauty in right now. I've been trying to appreciate the now and not wait so much for the later. Sometimes it is easier said than done.

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