What Matters in the End

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When I was in college, there was this cemetery close to campus that I’d pass from time to time.  Hemmed in by a black wrought iron fence, it ran parallel to a busy street filled with passing cars and lined with houses filled with students.

I liked being in this cemetery.  I’d walk between the headstones and think about the people underneath them.

I’d think about how these people were kids once.  How they’d swung on swings and climbed trees.  How they’d fallen in love and had dreams.  And in the end, whether they were a lawyer or a housewife, they all ended up in the same place.  And I believe, with all my heart, that at the end of their lives, they thought: “It all went by so fast.”

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One day, though it never really seems real, I will die.  No more men will lean in to kiss me.  I will never again walk to a ski mountain on bridge over a river filled with ice and snow.  I will never open my eyes in the morning, pour coffee, and look at the sunlight pouring through my window.  I am organic matter.  And I will float away (I’m totes getting cremated) on a breeze somewhere.  Chapter closed.

And where and when you were when you lost your virginity…  How you felt when you held your child in your arms for the first time…  That day in Hawaii when one of my sisters was still in diapers… It’s all going to seem like it went by so fast.  I know – with total certainty – it’s going to feel that way, because it already feels that way.

This is the gift of tomorrow.  The What Could Be.  And even if you’re in a rut.  Even if you just ate a whole batch of cupcakes because you got fired.  Even if you’re in the midst of a nervous breakdown, or you’re working a dead-end job, or slogging through the throes of depression – take heart.  Know everyone goes through this kind of stuff, though no one talks about it.  And it won’t last forever.

Waiting on the other side of what you’re going through, there’s more of the magical things.  There are nights you’ll never forget with people you love most in the world.  There are people waiting to love you.  They’re wishing they already knew you.

When my little Life – all my worries and fears – fall away, this is what I’m left with.  Miracles.  But it is soooo hard to get to this place.  It’s pretty ironic in a way that I’m really good at getting to that place in a cemetery.

But if I focus on one day at a time, and remember that at the end of all this, all I owe myself is to have enjoyed my life as much as possible, I think I will live life well.  I think I will have done a damn good job at this whole living thing.  And however I acted in the past – however much I worried and wasted time – I have no control over that.  But I can change.  I can do tomorrow differently.  That’s what I’m thinking about today.  Monday.  Happy MONDAY!

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One thought on “What Matters in the End

  1. You really got me right where I needed it. I work a job that breaks my heart every day. My husband, my mom, my friends tell me I’ll get a new job. But you imagined it for me. (You hold the vision that people are waiting to love me elsewhere! Waiting to work with me!) Others might try to provide perspective that this too shall pass but you’re holding that hope — that is the miracle and the magic of writing and writers and readers. Thanks and tears of hope,
    Amber (rilkebean)

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