I still have goosebumps.
Driving to an appointment a few days ago I was reflecting on a book I just finished reading: A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller. This book has instantly settled into its rightful spot as one of my top 5 favorite books. It challenges you to think about your life as a story. Is it a memorable story? Is it a story with any kind of meaning? Is it a story you’re excited to be writing/living?
I was deep in thought pondering on these questions for myself when the radio suddenly grabbed my attention with a song called I Lived by OneRepublic. I won’t share all the lyrics here because you can get the whole idea from just the chorus:
I, I did it all
I, I did it all
I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Yeah, with every broken bone
I swear I lived
I’d actually never heard the song before, so it hit me like a ton of bricks…the way only lyrics you’re hearing for the first time can. I thought to myself, “Now THAT was perfect timing.”
And then — as if on cue — my eyes were drawn to the blinking lights of a motorcycle cop headed toward me in the opposite lane…leading a funeral procession.
As I watched the cars file past with their little orange hood flags flapping in the wind, my eyes filled with tears and I desperately hoped the life being remembered at the end of that procession had been fully lived. I hoped the people in those cars were on their way to a potluck in the basement of some Church somewhere where friends and family were already swapping dozens of stories of a life of adventure and generosity and laughter and an overabundance of love.
Am I living that kind of life? Am I living a great story? These questions really started to haunt me.
I have a theory that God wired the Universe to present moments like these to wake us up, to remind us that the clock is ticking, and until we’re the one riding in that modified black station wagon at the end of the procession we still have time to write a better story. Sure, he provides the paper, but he’s handed the pen to us.
If you were handed a fresh sheet of paper to (re)write your story moving forward, what elements would you include to make it a more fascinating story from now until the end? Starting that business you’ve dreamed of? Finding the love of your life? Building medical clinics in Africa? Driving coast to coast with your dog in a convertible?
That book, that song, that funeral — way too coincidental to ignore — forced me to admit that I haven’t been living my greatest story.
Today I’m excited that I’ve been given a fresh sheet of paper. I’m already writing a new storyline that includes building a community of like-minded rockstars, buying a cabin in the woods to share with friends and family, and instigating some grand adventures for my family before the kids leave for college in a few years.
You’ve got a fresh sheet of paper, too. What will you write on yours?
I can’t wait to read your story.