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15 Minutes to Live

Updated on May 31, 2011

#Trust 30 Day 1 Writing Prompt

Gwen Bell – 15 Minutes to Live

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.

1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

(Author: Gwen Bell)

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The time flows downward like a rampaging waterfall. I can't think. The pulsing of my heart bludgeons my ear drums. Focus. You only have fifteen minutes to live...well a little under fourteen actually. I must explain what happened in my life. It is a story that brings together the entirety of human existence. It all makes sense now. Maybe, just maybe this can help someone else to see the truth, the reality.

There was a little boy who always wanted to do the right thing. He would always choose his actions very carefully. He made a deal with life. If I do right by you, then ultimately good things will come my way. He trusted the fairness of this agreement. He did not expect to be freed from the ups and downs of life's waves of fortune. He simply placed all his faith in a balanced existence.

The boy got older and older and the decisions got harder and harder. What was the right action? What were the good things that he wanted? He constantly had to question what he was doing. Eventually all of his options started to seem like the wrong thing. He'd lost his compass and felt lost in a foreign land. He felt terrible about the situations that he found himself in. It was not supposed to go this way. This was not the plan. How had it ended up like this?

Like a message in a bottle floating atop the ocean waves, his mind spiraled round and round. His grip of control on life began to loosen. Was any of this real? Was there really a choice after all? He started to feel a bit crazy. The people closest to him changed over time. He himself was constantly changing. The memories he held so dear warped and molded to each new situation. Nothing could be trusted. Was he ever the little boy who made a pact with life? It felt like such a long time ago. What is time anyway? It felt like it maybe never happened. If it did, it surely wasn't him.

The choice to confront him now was between death and death. That is no choice. A man in a white coat came over to him and whispered, “Don't worry, this was never your life anyway. It will all be over soon.” The man felt the sensation of floating away. The tension built inside him. “I tried to do right for so long and this is how I'm repaid,” he thought. Just at that moment, down to his last handful of breaths, the awareness finally came.

The neediness that he had developed for the payoff of his good deeds was the infinite sadness that he held within. There was no maker judging his actions on a scale. He was treating life like a game that you win or lose with a grand observer keeping tally. But there is no score sheet and no victory or defeat. This is not a practice run for later. Life is every waking moment and the only happiness that is to be had comes from within. Forgiving yourself for the inability to discern the right conduct in the murky waters of each day is the only path to peace. Each moment holds the capacity of both good and bad, the reflections from within.

With that thought, I found my serenity. As my body gasps for a last bit of oxygen and my organs begin to fail, know that I am here as I was and as I always will be. See yourself in me and live well.

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