Why not?

How will it find me? And when?

Will it find me in nature? I hope so. Striking me gently, so I fall into the grass, lying prone in the shade of some enormous hill that I have just climbed. I hope they never find me.

I will just melt, becoming part of a mountain somewhere.

That is the ideal. But we don’t always get what we want.

Will it find me in a hospital bed? I hope not. A couple of loved ones waiting for my last words.

What would they be anyway?

Something fitting, and I would overthink the ending, a thousand times, lingering on the possibility, that there was yet more to say.

It would be a long day, For the sake of those I love, I hope it is not that way.

Will it be suddenly then? No chance to extend a final goodbye. My soul stolen, soaring skyward, road below, smoke and screaming machinery, pulverised into a road. Smeared.

Cheery, no?

The thing is, I don’t think it really matters how we go. We are already on our way? But what is carrying you towards death today?

What are you allowing and accepting and choosing, letting?

What is behind, and what is in front and what is the path and who is on it with you?

What do you love?

Are you doing that, letting it steal your attention, absorbing all focus, are you cleaving with all your might to that which you love, that which lights you up inside?

Me neither

But I might

Since we are all dying, why not?

*Imagine you have ten days left? What is important, who? What are your regrets? Just ten days left. Life is, as I’ve said before, too long. The length ambiguous. We think perhaps we might live until we are 80 as we smoke cigarettes and binge drink through our 20’s, perhaps shoot a little of this and that and eat appalling food and don’t exercise at all because “where is the fun in that?”

At some stage down the journey perhaps we feel the sudden tug of a noose. Someone we love dies, or several at once. Infinite reality crashes to earth, becoming finite. Definite. Death defined. Cut like a razor through butter, the soul mutters loudly. For the first time we hear it. The sound of death nearing. Leaves crackling ominously. The cycles of nature. It is everywhere, how did we miss it? Think ourselves safely apart? A change of heart, direction.

We make some changes, then some more. Will it be enough? The body keeps score. Damage has been wreaked, our inner graffiti covered organs struggle to reassemble into a clean slate. For some it is too late.

Or perhaps we just keep partying right up to the last moment. Never reflect, never grow or learn or find anything about what we came here for. Never once ask a single question about why? What for? Who?

I don’t recognise you, for that person is not me, I have been asking questions for years. Thousands upon thousands. Yet it is only now the answers begin to find me. But there are some people for which ignorance is bliss. And they remain there, unconscious until the end. Then…who knows?

Life can be one long slog from start to finish or a quick white knuckle ride. So many paths to the same place. But none of them are easy. You think ignorance is easy? Anything but, and the hangovers would be painful. If they ever sober up. It is not even a choice but a lack of choosing and it becomes using something, anything in order to remain asleep. Perhaps they think there is no other choice. Or are frightened to make one – I don’t know.

I do know we cannot choose the circumstances whereby we meet the stars, ?(other than suicide). But we get to choose this day, how we spend it and what we think about. We get to choose what is important, and what is not.

We choose the headspace we carry our unearthly baggage in. It’s perhaps the only thing that is ours to decide and knowing that, makes all the difference to how we ride.

And how well we ride through the fire or whether we walk, the careful placement of foot to coal. That will make all the difference as we grow old, if we are fortunate to be given the time to make it. This day and how we take it. Why not choose hard and let it break us, again and again. We’re headed to the end anyway, why not find what we love and spend it, day after day after day. Even if it kills us, why not? We are all dying, so why not?

Thousands of people with beautiful voices are never famous. Instead they sing in pubs and clubs for a pittance of what their talent is worth.

Charles Bukowski, messed up dirty old honest, brilliant, failure, tragedy and perhaps one of my favourite poets and who this post, with smatters of inspiration from his own musings, reminds me of most. His life’s work was a litany of failure both personal and professional and yet, so compellingly brutally real.

Truth is what it is but it is rarely kind.

Life doesn’t package itself in a palatable way for everyone, yet we must eat what is on our plate and set before us.

Thousands of gifted artists die poor. Thousands of great writers will remain “undiscovered”, but if they spend their time doing what they love, then they spend wisely. I guess we must stop expecting to be paid for our love – we may be paid for our passion, but perhaps not, perhaps never, would you do it anyway?

This morning as I walked and thought of writing I recalled snatches of a prayer my Mother was fond of repeating. I looked it up when I got home

To give and not to count the cost, To fight and not to heed the wounds, To labor and not to seek to rest, To give of my self and not ask for a reward, Except the reward of knowing that I am doing your will

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Your will? The will of our soul, the will of God or perhaps the two are one when we recall that the soul is the divine spark in all of us.

Time is ours at least whilst we live. We own it. We spend it. We hoard it and keep it so preciously, for what?

*Header Image courtesy Conor Samuel Unsplash

13 thoughts on “Why not?

  1. Thanks for sharing this beautiful and soul-searching reflection on our journey to life’s end. I would prefer to go quietly and painlessly during sleep at home. But, as you say, we don’t get to choose (unless we decide to take the matter into our own hands). After two possible near-death experiences in Brazil, I’ve learn to live each day as though it were my last.

    • I try to live that way Rosaliene, the illusion of permanency is persuasive and it’s easy to take life for granted. Sunrise is my time to be grateful and remember that one day the sun will rise without me here to witness it. The sky is stunning at dawn.

  2. Kate, my friend, this beautiful piece speaks to my soul. It’s as inspiring to me as your inspirational poet. Why not? After two near-death experiences, life-altering outcomes, and beating depression at times to just become a full participant in life, I say, “why not?” I get one shot! Reality is what we make it. I choose to see extraordinary in the ordinary. Let others think and perceive as they will for I cannot control such. I used to do my “death bed” test (I’d ask staff, “I you were told you had 3 months to live would you REALLY be worried about this right now?). I had copied a sentence you wrote at the beginning of this masterpiece~then realized there were too many I needed to copy. So I will save this and read it many times. There are mountains I’ve climbed that are now a part of me~and I them. And the divine dwelling residing in my soul is the spark of the Spirit of God to which I will one day love extraordinary again! Love and peace to you my dear friend. 💚

    • What a beautiful response Karla. Thank you, yes condensing our time here certainly makes the cream rise to the top so that we can see what is important. All too quickly though we forget. I read an article about a highly commended ambulance doctor who now works out of Brisbane and is called to catastrophic accidents. He has amazing skills and experience therefore he is on call 24/7 – the accidents he goes to directly from an ordinary any day lunch or moment with his family are harrowing. A man up a tree with a chainsaw slips and hangs himself, a mother is swooped by a magpie and trips while holding her baby girl, stabbing, shootings, drownings. So many terrible ways to die and it happens so fast. Because of that he says “I never leave home after an angry word, you just never know” and we don’t.

      • Thank you, Kate. I know we are divided by water and mikes, and I’m so thankful for this connection. The ambulance dr is a true hero. The tragedies are unimaginable. We certainly do not know. I’m so glad to know you my friend. ❤️🤗

  3. I agree dear Kate. If we do things for profit and self-glory. They will be meaningless. A great lady, the Ford family baby sister gave millions to charity. She told them. Do not share my name. I don’t do this for self-glory. I do this to help people in need.

    • Thanks for reading John. I don’t think it is the money that’s the problem, just the motivation. If money comes along great but if it doesn’t there is a greater reward, that of following your heart and doing something that you love.

      • Money can be. I worked for a company who made more money than ever the past two years. Cutting labor this year, want more. Once I was a father who worked two jobs and rarely saw his kids. I work part-time now and I watch the grandchildren daily. If you want everything, you will learn one day. You had enough. You don’t need everything.

      • That’s so true John, so sad that the company is cutting workers and at this time of year – a tragedy. Great that you have time to watch your Grandkids grow, they will be much stronger better adults for having had a grandparent around when they were young besides which it would be a lot of fun no doubt

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