Apparently I have far too much “stuff” stored on my laptop because it isn’t working properly and tells me so each time I try to even check my email. So, I’ve been going through and attempting to delete old files and documents.
I ran across this bit that I wrote and, rather than delete it, decided I would just share it here. As this week marks the anniversary of losing my brother, the timing seemed to fit. This is not a sad or maudlin share, I promise – But something I’ve been working on each day for the past nine years. . . .And I think it’s a good goal for all of us.
Here goes. . .
I used to have a brother. He was a one of a kind, great guy. In fact, I would have thought him remarkable even if he hadn’t been my brother. He had this huge belly laugh and the best hugs of anyone I’ve ever known. He had this wonderful love of life and knew how to suck every single second out of every single day.
He was one of those people with a gift for making you feel loved. He made you feel special. He was also really good at making those every day occurrances into events. He looked at every opportunity as a way to have fun. He could be knee deep in mud helping a friend, sweating bullets on a lawnmower or ironing a shirt for church, and he would find a way to make these “chores” seem fun. Planning, preparing and eating a meal would be a great event whether it was a simple hot dog from the grill on a regular paper plate or an elaborate beef tenderloin for a holiday dinner.
He could make the most dreaded tasks and mundane chores seem okay. These everyday hassles, inconveniences and battles could be events that were merely a part of his day and could be all rolled into a great story at the close of that day. He found great pleasure in finding a story in just about any situation. And he was the master storyteller of all these things.
After he died I made a vow to live each day as he did. I promised myself to be wowed by the sunrises and sunsets, to enjoy each opportunity for a new story, eat meals with pure pleasure and allow myself to completely feel the joy and the gifts of this world and this life.
Sometimes I get it right but oftentimes I get it wrong. Sometimes I still allow myself to get bogged down in the mundane. I have allowed the eye rolls of a teenage son, the honked horn at the redlight, the unexpected bill, work deadline, baskets of laundry, and hard life “stuff” to take away my delight in the day. I forget to experience the gifts each day brings. I prepare a meal but do not allow it to be an event. I miss out on seeing the story in the inconvenience of the task.
This is not how I want to experience my days. So this is my reminder to myself to take back my days, even the mundane, boring and unfun, the small stuff, my time here. I might not have the big belly laugh, the big bear hugs or the gift of story telling of my big brother, but one thing I can do is find the gifts and the fun in the days I have ahead.
I know I can enjoy hot dogs as if they are the best dinner ever invented. I can look up at the brilliant blue sky and actually see it. I can have that conversation with the sweet lady in the grocery store line. I can eat the butter with the bread just because it is warm and delicious and worth every calorie.
That is how I want to live. I want to know that each day is its own experience and I want to see these days with the optimism and joy my brother did.
This is what I wrote a couple of years ago and now deleted from by laptop. I only made a couple of tweaks. It has been a great reminder for me, especially now after coming out of a couple of hard years. We are still here and, like I often say, have this one, big beautiful life.
In honor of Mike I am recommitting to making each day count, celebrating the small stuff, even the mundane, and to mimic his way of sucking every second out of every single day.
I hope this encourages you to do the same. I hope you find something every day to make you smile and even have one of those great big belly laughs!