I don’t know if you’ve heard of Justin McRoberts. He’s one of those artists I’ve heard of, but can’t say I’ve ever listened to his music. His latest album, Deconstruction, showed up in my mailbox due to the wonderful work of his publicist, and I can’t stop listening to the CD. One song in particular, “Done Living,” has been working on my heart.
While he wrote the song for his grandmother, like any good song, it has more than just one meaning. For me, it’s been an amazing reminder about life. I’ve mentioned the horrible go I’ve had of things the past few months (since the end of December) and I can’t stay that I haven’t thought about what it would be like to not exist. Sometimes the pain just seemed so burdensome, that I thought my heart would break thus killing me instantly. Other times, I just wished it would. I felt like Elijah, who after the battle with the prophets of Baal, just says to God, “Let me die.”
Of course, I’m still here (and doing better). The simple lyrics of “Done Living” are ones that sound pretty but aren’t always easy to ingest and are even harder to play out, but they are beautiful. Time and again, the listener is met with this verse: “The question isn’t are are you gonna die/You’re gonna die/Will you be done living when you do?” I thought, that’s a good question because right now I live like I’m dying, but surely I’m not done living. Day after day I’ve been asking myself, “Am I done living?” I know that I’m not. But when it is my time to go, I want to be done living. I want to have lived life to the fullest and I can’t do that if I let fear or sickness or doubt or pain or whatever hold me back. I just have to live (Hence, part of the change was evidenced in my massive puddle jumping expedition a few weeks ago. You can read about it here.)
Then tonight I watched the movie The Bucket List with a couple of friends starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman (who Sarah and I like to pretend is our father). Two guys diagnosed with terminal cancer meet while sharing a room in the hospital. Together they come up with a list of things to do before “kicking the bucket” and go forth to do those things. While I thought the movie would be a laugh-out-loud comedy, it was more of a touching drama with some amusing moments. It was cool to see two old guys learn how to live again, and to have integrity in death. Plus, Nicholson and Freeman make a fantastic acting duo!
I thought about making my own Bucket List, but being the overachiever that I am, I would probably panic if wasn’t completed by next week. Instead, I think I’m going to try to live so that I’ll be done living when I’m through. I’m going to publish that book that I’ve been mulling over in my head, move out of the state of Pennsylvania in a couple years, I’m going to go on safari in Africa, take pictures in Alaska, sing on-stage with a rock band or singer, and go snorkeling. I’m hopeful I’ll get married, adopt some kids, and own that horse I’ve always wanted, too. Who knows if any of these thing will happen? I mean, I could write a book that really sucks. The question isn’t whether I will do these things; it’s whether or not I’m going to live like these things are possible. I serve a God who dabbles in the impossible to show mankind the full extent of His power and glory, whether on a hunt for lions in Africa or with a beautiful sunset in Pennsylvania.
The question isn’t whether I’m going to die; I’m going die. Will I be done living when I do? How about you?