I believe that every single day of life is a precious gift and should be lived to the fullest extent possible. It did, however, take me 34 years to arrive at this conclusion. Up until that time I was afraid to live. I was afraid to speak up or share my opinions, hopes, fears, or (God-forbid) beliefs to anyone.
While it was always difficult for me to express my voice, I certainly had one. I felt a deep, internal passion for all aspects of life. Yet I was afraid to let it shine through. Instead I just wanted to blend in and not be recognized as different or distinct. I wanted to be the background of life’s tapestry – I preferred to let others fabricate the bold, creative, and unique design on top.
However, this perspective drastically changed when I was admitted to the hospital on September 11, 2006 with severe abdominal pain. After a day and a half of undergoing unpleasant examinations I found out that I needed emergency surgery for colon cancer. I was suddenly faced with the biggest fear of my life: dying. It was amazing how my fear of dying helped me to immediately overcome my fear of living. I recognized instantly that life is a precious gift, it shouldn’t be taken for granted, and every opportunity that presents itself to me should be embraced without reservation.
Sometimes to live fully means allowing the tears to stream down my face when I experience pain or sadness. At other times my smiles and laughter express the shear abundance of happiness in my life. I welcome all of these feelings, emotions and experiences. I recognize that my life is enhanced by the good and challenging experiences alike, as long as they are received as opportunities to learn and grow in response to them.
I now readily offer my opinions, hopes, fears, and (most of all) beliefs to anyone who will listen. I recognize that every person (myself included) equally imprints their own, bold, creative, and unique design to the tapestry. The background, which I mistakenly thought was my contribution, is actually the thread that ties us all together making equal space for everyone’s individual beliefs to be proudly displayed. This spacious, encompassing, integral background is what holds life’s tapestry together where my voice is expressed and heard just the same as everyone else’s. Recognizing that, I now awaken each morning ready to embrace what the day has to offer me and I allow the passion I feel in each moment to shine through.
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