Celebrating life

One of my cousins died suddenly and unexpectedly last weekend. He was 53 years old.

He and I were not particularly close, but I had seen him and his wife a few times a year when I was living the UK. He was a good and generous man. His handiwork remains a part of my daily reality, as the dental bridge he constructed for me twenty years ago still resides in my mouth.

A life cut short too soon.

His death makes me ever so much more aware of the danger of my tendency to procrastinate. I saw a short quote a couple of months ago which suggest that procrastination is more about fear than laziness. This is certainly true for me. But an untimely death is a stark reminder that I do not have unlimited time. I may not have the time I think I do, and there things I don’t want to leave undone.

It’s not to say I am now in a rush to tick off the list of contributions I feel I want to make. Because one of pieces of wisdom I am being to grasp is that there is a right season for some things. Some ideas need a far longer percolation time than others. And rushing is as unhelpful as procrastinating.

So I guess, I am writing this as a reminder to myself – when the time seems right, I need to act. I need to keep my fear of failure or appearing foolish in the broader perspective of the potential of not being able to fulfill my goal.

For now, I choose to celebrate the life and contribution of my cousin, Ryk. I mourn his passing, and pray for those whose lives will be far more deeply affected by his death than my own.

3 thoughts on “Celebrating life

  1. I am sorry for your loss and will certainly keep you and your family in prayers.

    My personal experience of grief has been that it shocks me into reality when I have allowed complacency to cloud my understanding of the world.

    It always amazes me how cliches come out at moments like these and often they sound patronizing, hollow and inadequate. However, your reflection reminded me forcibly of something Sigfried Sassoon once wrote: “Death is a reminder to the living of their duty towards life”. I hope it falls into the ‘thought-provoking’ category and not the other three I mentioned.

  2. Like you Mags I have realised that my procrastination is to do with fear of failure. Either fear of accomplishing something om a mediocre way or fear that the very idea to do something will be responded to with disdain. It is to do with a lack of true belief in myself and the feeling that others will always be better. But thyere have been some deaths recently in my life too and it truly does make you think about life. I often end my day with a sense of regret. How terrible to end my life and look back and think ‘there was so much I wanted to do!’ I am coming up to my 50th next year and have written out a list of 50 things I would love to achieve at this time of my life. Some of those things are very simple like learning to make bread or to play an instrument. Others are more profound. It is my longing to live my life as an adventure and to see every moment as a God given opportunity.

  3. I was with a friend during his dying, through his last breath. He regretted not having learned to play the piano or pursuing painting. He was 75 at his death, and I had known him for 11 years or so. The regrets were far more the mistaken perception. He really hadn’t wanted to do those things. This was obvious to friends and family.

    I look around at my life: at the activities, people, and principles that occupy the landscape of my time on earth. They are better than anything I might have intended. In spite of my pathological procrastination. Gifts from the abundant universe.

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