Living Life To the Fullest
Christmas is one of my favourite times of year. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I guess the ‘love’ part comes from the whole tradition of the holiday: the Christmas lights, the music, the movies, the beauty of snow and ice—of course where I live now rarely gets that part—and the magic of the season in general. The “hate” part comes from loss of family and friends. It’s a time of missing loved ones, just as so many others do.
As a child, my most favourite part was the presents. I knew I was going to get at least one new Nancy Drew book, and I would read it within a few days and add it to my collection. I was and still am an avid reader. I was thinking about that, the other day. My love for Nancy Drew mysteries, and, of course, the other famous one of the time, the Hardy Boys—plus I remember there were other mysteries, too—were what got me to where I am today as an author and editor. I guess I have my mother, and her encouragement of reading and writing, to thank for my career.
I was watching one of my favourite Christmas movies yesterday, Queen Latifah’s “Last Holiday” and thinking about the many lessons the movie shares; the most important being to live life fully and without fear.
How many people do the exact opposite through their life? I think I did that for years. I have another friend who is doing it right now. This person is desperately afraid of their future and desperately tired of their present. But they are too fearful to release their present and have a chance to find a better future for themselves.
It isn’t until the main character of the movie is faced with her own immediate death that she grabs life completely and jumps into the unknown abyss, only to come up with everything she could ever have wanted.
How many of us are like that? How many of us spend our lives walking the safe road, working jobs we hate so we will get a pension, staying married to someone who makes us feel lousy, doing the same things everyday just because that’s how we have always done it; even eating the same foods because we are used to them?
Was that how you felt when you first started out? Was that what you thought life would be like?
Do you remember when the idea of getting up everyday was thrilling? There were infinite possibilities for every single day and you never knew what they might be.
I remember that time. I was in my twenties and single. I could choose to do anything on the weekends. Anything at all. Nothing hung over my head like a guillotine and I had no fears. My weekends were filled with adventure and meeting new people and doing new things.
Then married life came along.
Married life has certain expectations. But when you look at those expectations really closely, you will see that married life is really no different than single life. There were bills to pay, shopping to be done, people to hang out with and all the same things then. But, with married life, we take the expectations of generations and layer them on top of ourselves and come up with a different lifestyle. The “settled down” life.
What does that mean?
Well, it seems to mean, you work your butt off all week and then do all the rest of the things, you didn’t have time to do during the week, on the weekend. So much for any fun. So much for any opportunity for adventure. So much for any newness of life.
And fear plays a huge role.
We become fearful of the idea of change. We sit within the fear of “if I don’t get this done, then this other thing might happen” and so we never try anything new.
When I was a child, my dad wasn’t much of a church goer, but he insisted we go somewhere every weekend and see something new. Often it was just a drive down the road to a historic site. Back in Ontario, there are tons of historic sites. It was a wonderful way to grow up.
Dad was also big on taking us out in the snow, toboggan rides, going fishing, and just being out in nature anytime of the year.
Somehow, in the last forty years of my life, I have lost some of that. Married life hasn’t been easy—it should always be thought of as a “work in progress”—and we have both often forgotten the thrill of new things. But this time, after six, going on seven years, of physical upsets for both of us, I’m going to make a concerted effort to mix it up a lot more. I have reclaimed more of myself, lately, than I have in years.
It’s funny how when life throws us a wrench or two, we sometimes forget who we were before things started hitting the fan. So it’s important to sit down and think about what you were up to before the waters got so choppy.
Here’s what God has to say.
“When you forget who you are, a child of the Living God, and you embrace only the “mental” side of life, with all its emotional upsets and fears, you lose the opportunity to embrace the “physical” Eden side.
Eden was once a place, of course. It was the new place where new life started. Maybe not quite as it is thought of today. But grabbing the Eden Life means learning to explore each day as if it is all new and exciting and wonderful and you are the First Man or the First Woman to ever see it.
If you sit in fear, you cover your possibilities. In that way, you block yourself from your true humanity and any real growth. The stories of First Man and First Woman are also stories of loss. The loss of connection to the Godhead. When you learn to trust, to reach out your hand to God and walk with your Creator, everyday, you learn to live life fully.
Trust in God. Trust in the protection of the Holy Spirit. For The Godhead is inside each and every one of you. You are never alone. So don’t be afraid. We will always be with you. Even unto and beyond your death. We are your best friend.”
Ben and Sister Abhidheya