The unfurled list follows us to the bathroom, joins us in the shower and then rides shotgun as we make our way through our day.
A few years ago a woman I knew and cared about died. Although we weren’t super close, I considered her a friend. Our boys had played together when they were younger. She volunteered. She was a loyal Green Bay Packers fan. She collected candy every Halloween for the military. She had a contagious laugh. She loved her husband. She loved her son. She was in love with her life. She survived cancer.
Then, years later, cancer survived her.
We went to her funeral. Her Rabbi knew her well, so well that he told stories that made all of us laugh until we cried. The room was packed; countless people had shown up to honor her, she had not only touched them, but the life she lived had made a difference.
When the service finished, we made our way toward the doors of the Synagogue to leave. I found my eyes landing on one person after another, many we knew, others we didn’t, and as we navigated through the sea of people, I wondered about Linda’s list. All her to-do’s, dreaded or not, would be left undone.
And as we walked to the car, I thought about all the people I had loved and lost. The countless lives cut short from illness, car accidents, even drugs. It occurred to me that chances were good that any one of them would have given anything to live one more day–list and all.
One can only guess, but I’m going to go out on a limb here, I bet if they received one more day they wouldn’t spend it being hung up on what they “had” to do. Nope. Pretty sure they would reframe their mindset and instead say “Look at all I get to do today.”
The word “get” reminds us not to squander our time. It invites us to connect with people. And if we are lucky, it allows us to not only understand the true fortune that living another day is, but to feel it.
So what can we do?
We can refuse to sit on the sideline of our own life. We can seek out the extraordinary. Find and extend joy. Shake off the blues. Tear down the boundaries that hold us back. Right a wrong. Apologize. Forgive. Love. Extend permission to ourselves to call our shots. Find ways to be still. Be of service. Use our voice. Have and express gratitude.
The word “get” says: Go ahead and live. Jump in with all your heart. Make a splash, the ripples you create will tell the story of your life.