The Ultimate Gift: A Moment with Bill Reflection
From the Shell to the Great Unknown
There is safety inside. It is warm there, comfortable there, and yes, natural there. There is no awareness of life on the outside. There are no concepts to grasp, no dreams to embrace, and no fears to face. There is no earthly reason and no incentive to do what she is compelled to do, and yet she does it. Beak to shell, tap, tap, tap, testing for weaknesses, straining with rubbery muscles, seeking the unknown, she continues exploring for a way out.
For seventeen days she has grown inside her protective coating, but now she must leave, for a voice calls her, the same voice we have all heard, the siren’s song of life.
Can you hear it? Can you hear the sweet melody? Can you hear the sweet melody sung by billions of voices around the world?
The siren’s song of life.
Do you dance to it? Do you dance to this sweet melody? Do you dance with reckless abandon to this sweet melody?
Or do you remain in the corner, lip-syncing to the melody, hoping someone will choose you, the perennial wallflower, to be their dance partner?
The Great Unknown
Now that we’ve broken free from that shell, the world awaits. We begin with a crawl, exploring our immediate surroundings, prodding here, testing our limits there, always reaching beyond, always curious, and certainly never bored. We giggle, we cry, we embrace the moment without concerns for the future or the guilt of the past.
The crawl becomes a walk, and then a run, leaping over obstacles, splashing through puddles, encircling life with arms outstretched, the wonder of it all filling our personal vessels with joy. Our bodies grow, our minds expand, and our future is limitless as long as we maintain the devil-may-care attitude and go with the flow.
And then life intervenes.
The Older We Get
Off to school, and the learning continues, not only the book variety, but how to interact with others, and how to make our own personal mark on this world, and we are introduced to a new word, a cumbersome word, a word that shackles our freedom and leaves us, for the very first time, longing for the past.
That word is responsibility!
Grades must be maintained, and relationships must be planted, tended to, and harvested with loving care. Suddenly life is a bit more complicated, the giggles are fewer, and although the puddles have not diminished in number, our desire to splash through them has ebbed. There is too much that needs to be done, and the responsibilities grow. We get a job, we add to our possessions, and we fall in and out of love. Deadlines here, promises there, people are counting on us to perform, and societal pressure demands that we conform.
The once care-free spirit is now shackled, and the fire that once burned brightly is reduced to burning embers.
And Then It Happens
We wake up one day and, to our horror, we find ourselves thinking back to days gone by, and we realize just how long it has been since we howled at the moon or acted like a child.
And sadness envelopes us!
The bills weigh us down, our relationships are in shambles, our job, quite frankly, sucks, and there is no end in sight. Where once we saw brilliant hues, now we only see different shades of gray. Where once we saw opportunities, now we only see closed doors and missed chances.
The giggles rarely arrive, so we seek happiness in the transitory, a few extra drinks, a shot of speed, fancier clothes, a nip and tuck, and the false joy of a five-minute frolic with a stranger between the sheets. We race from one substitute to the next, a desperate sprint from one false god to another, frantically searching for the childhood we lost, the joy we lost, and the promises that no longer seem possible.
And then one day we look in a mirror and realize, to our horror, that we can’t outrun the inevitable truth: we did it to ourselves.
But It’s Not Too Late
We are never helpless!
The only constant in life is change, whether it is forced upon us or we seek it out. Change is inevitable. The only question, then, is this: are you going to be the punch line in your life’s joke?
What you once had, you can have again.
It is entirely up to you!
Today could be the day you change your life.
It is entirely up to you!
When was the last time you raised your arms and allowed the joy of life to flow through your body? When was the last time you acted like a child? When was the last time you laughed so hard your body ached, and you rejoiced in that ache? When was the last time you said “to hell with it” and acted spontaneously?
Do you even remember how to do it?
Your Days Are Numbered
That is a truth you cannot deny. Perhaps you feel it as you read this message. Perhaps the body is slower, the responses more sluggish, and you find yourself moving with an old-man’s gate. No matter your age, your own personal final chapter awaits you, the tolling of the bell sounds in the distance, and when the final bell sounds, none of us knows for sure. Today? Tomorrow? Next year?
What are you waiting for?
The shell, once again, envelopes her. The siren’s song of life can no longer be heard. A different kind of escape is now sought, the blessed final sleep, when tired body and mind nestle down and embrace an ending to this chapter of existence. Those final moments are spent reviewing a life well-lived, or they are spent regretting a life well-wasted.
And the brilliant hues fade to gray and then, finally, to black.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)