A buddy of mine died during the week.
A fellow Ishaya, he’d kept his cancer quiet, he didn’t want anyone to know.
I just assumed I would see him again this year, but no.
So much for assumptions huh?
A sterling dude with a huge heart -
He was built like many North American guys I know,
About as wide as he was tall,
Solid as a brick dunny.
I remember coming around a corner once and bumping into him -
Bouncing would be a better word for I hit this man wall and flew back some way.
Huge man, huge smile, huge heart, huge compassion.
He had an amazing journey.
He was an US soldier and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What he saw and did affected him greatly,
So much so by the time he stopped being a soldier he was “a bit of a mess” -
All the drugs and the doctors and the specialised counselling couldn’t put him together again.
As a bit of a last chance effort he learnt to Ascend,
And the more he practiced the more he found he could put his skeletons behind him.
His levels of medication dropped and dropped and kept dropping until he could quit everything the doctors had him on.
At that point - when I met him - I thought he was unstoppable.
The kind of guy who would live to be 100.
Full of energy, full of fun, full of love and lust for life,
The kind of life force that you often see in people who have had a second chance,
When given another opportunity they seize it and fully make the most of each and every moment.
I turn 43 this year.
There’s plenty of things I still want to do and get better at,
Things I want to experience and become.
I hope there’s plenty of future for me.
Yet I know,
I have no idea of how much time I actually have.
In this, it’s the simple things that mean a life becomes a Life,
Now - and not when I get x, y or z.
The appreciation, the gratitude, the love, the remembering to be alive and awake to this moment, the sense of presence and stillness at the core of my being …
Without those all the achieving in the world won’t mean anything.
With them, everything I do becomes satisfying, complete, full.
And then there’s room for more. Always more.
Whoever and whatever you are, no matter your history, you always have a choice.
It might not seem like it, but you do.
Find it, make the most of that choice - it is the one thing that changes everything.
It's the one thing that will make a difference, no matter what you do.
And so I say, with feeling,