Wake Up Call

We all can recognize this.
Being caught up in our pursuits.
Being caught up in our desires.
Being caught up in our stories.
Being caught up in our lives.

Pursuing this goal.
Chasing after that thing.
Craving for that shiny new object.
Coveting this person.
Working hard at being someone.

Reacting from our fears.
Driven by our worries.
Consumed by our greed.
Pumping up our pride.

Lashing out at this one.
Angry at the other.
Wanting to fix or change,
All that is out there.

The problem is always
Out there, Isn't it?
Nothing wrong in here, within us!
Move along, we might say!

Caught up in our own tangles,
Like the spider in its own web,
We swing between
The past and the future.

Stresses rise.
Sad one moment,
Happy another,
Only to be broken again.

There's always another day.
To try harder,
And change the other.
To control the circumstances
And fix what is out there!
To grip tighter what we want
For fear of losing it!

Times change.
Sands shift.
Winds blow.
Restlessness grows.
Relationships wither.
Outcomes vary.
Swinging between the
Greed and fear continues.

There's always another day.
That's the seduction.
And so it goes.
Until one day comes,
Bearing bad news.
As it did with me.

A friend, bubbly and
Full of cheer,
Is having a terminal condition.
She has weeks to live.

The lightning of this shock hits close.
The thunder of this surprise is booming.
A bolt out of the blue!
How could this happen?

She was healthy.  Mostly.
She was bright, and touched others,
In ways few people do!
How could this happen?

She has a great family.
Wonderful friends.
A great community.
How could this happen?

Questions arise from shock.
Few answers follow.
In these moments,
These precious moments,
The "I" has taken the backseat,
"She" is the focus.

My worries about my work
My fears about this or that
My dreams about the future
My petty grudges
My resentments
My pride and my ego
All these have taken the backseat.

Petty, trivial all these seem.
In face of the finality of
The blow dealt to her!
How could this happen?

Sitting with her, I realize again
Why I found her unique,
Among humans.

The great smile, still there,
Worn down by the disease
But still there.

The graciousness, the generosity
The compassion, the positive outlook
All still there, visible behind
The broken body.

The faith, the strength,
The inner determination,
The deep trust that
Her Lord is with her!
All magnified through the frailty
Of her physical presence,
Shining like some
Great Bright Light!

I pray for her highest good.
So do some great friends.
And family members.

Things worsen.
Complications arise.
The treatment is harsh.
Little recourse.
Body gives in.

She is bold.
Doesn't want the tube.
Into Hospice she moves.
Ready to let go.
And unfold into the
Waiting hands of her Lord.

Seeing her again,
I bid her a silent goodbye.
What a sad thing it would be
To lose a great human!

Earlier today
The text message comes
She is with her Lord.
May she be in peace!

And what is my story again?
What is that drama
I am caught up in?
What petty crap is holding
My attention?
What useless things want
To grip me and hold me down?

We come in with an expiry date.
Each and every one of us do.
What am I postponing to tomorrow?
Fears, worries, greed and pride for today,
And maybe thankfulness for tomorrow?
What stupidity!
What a waste of the time today!

When my expiry date comes,
And come it certainly will, unfailingly will,
What am I carrying with me?
Grudges, resentments, sadness, grief,
greed, worry, anger, pride?

How that going to feel?
Looking back down at this life
From the moments before expiry
Did I lead a good life?
Did I do the right things?
Did I make a difference?

What is my story going to be
When my expiry date comes?
That I wasted half my life
Chasing after petty things!
That I failed to honor the
Family that is with me through
Thick and Thin?
That I was so self-absorbed
And failed to use my gifts
To make a difference in
This world?
That the inheritance I left my kids
Was lessons on regrets?

How is that going to honor her?
Or the other precious ones that
Left before her?
Or the other great ones that will
Surely leave on their expiry dates?

This is the choice
Staring at me.
This, my friends, is the same choice
That is also staring at you!
Today, it was my friend who
In leaving, left me a wake up call!
Are you going to take this wake up call
As a call to you?
Or are you going to await your own
Personal wake up call?

What is the choice?
What is my choice?
Who will line up at my expiry date?
What stories will they say about me
And the impact I had in their lives?

The choice is clear for me.
Choose to be the best I can be.
Choose to be the change I wish to see.
Choose to bring my gifts to others.
Choose to give rather than to get.
Choose to love and be kind.
Choose humility and gratitude.
Choose to be free of anger and worry.
Choose to remain in faith.
This is how I'd like to be
When my expiry date comes up!

How shall I get there from here?
How shall I honor the great ones
That have passed, and those
That are still living?
How will my choice become reality?

Choose to trust that just for today
It is enough if I live in this way!
Let go of anger. And all its cousins.
Be free from fear.  And all its siblings.
Be humble.  Be grateful.
Be honest.  Work hard. Be my best.
Be compassionate. To others. And to myself.
And this formula shall be enough.

This is living life by the
Precepts of Usui san.
This is my wake up call.
This is my choice.
May Grace be with me
To help my unfolding in this way!

The past is a memory.
The future is a possibility.
The present is a gift.
How will you use this gift?
Squander it without realization?
Or, choicefully make the most of the gift?
Can this be your wake up call?
What is your choice?
And may you choose wisely!


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Comments
  1. by Susan on December 18, 2014 at 06:04 pm

    Sundar,
    i am sorry for your loss and grateful for your shared wisdom.
    With warmth,
    Susan

  2. by Elly on December 19, 2014 at 09:14 pm

    Sundar, it sounds like a bright star returned to heaven. I’m sorry she was lost so soon to earth. But it sounds like her life touched many others with her love. As you say, we can’t know when our hour will come, but we can know how we spend the hours of each day.

  3. by Sundar on December 22, 2014 at 03:45 pm

    Susan, thanks for the kind words.
    Elly, thank you.  A bright star indeed returned to her home. More than the days in the life, it is the life in those days that truly matters!

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