Last night, the wife and I were each doing our thing on our laptops, getting ready to start the work week off today, while we had the cable switched to the Palladia channel. This is something we do every once in awhile, as the live concerts they show become the background music to whatever we happen to be doing.
Last night started out with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band from 2000, when Clarence “Big Man” Clemons was still alive and performing with the band. That was followed up by a Pretenders show from London that was much more recent, in which Chrissie Hynde paid tribute to two of the bands founding members, James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon, who passed away years ago. As I was watching the two shows, this blog post started to form in my head.
Before I could even write it, however, we awoke on the West Coast this morning to the news that David Bowie had died. That was quite a shock. There’s no question that Bowie has been one of the biggest, and most influential, musicians of the last 40 years, and that the world will miss him, let alone his loved ones. The news only solidified my thoughts about this post.
Here’s the raw fact that I had wanted to write:
We are all, someday, going to die.
Now, I certainly hope that time is a long way away for any of us, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s going to happen. The question is, what are you going to leave behind? Granted, 99.99% of us will never leave behind the music and art that someone like Bowie did, but don’t you dare think that let’s you off the hook. You have the chance, every single day, to leave behind moments, memories, and love for the people around you. Unfortunately, most of us don’t live our lives acknowledging the fact that we are all going to die. Instead we put things off, we take the people around us for granted, and for survivors, we try to survive instead of trying to live.
There’s so much more to life than surviving. If you’ve survived the abuse of childhood, you have an opportunity to leave behind something so much more than that. You can heal and overcome the past. You can build loving relationships with other people in your life, and what you leave behind can be a blessing to those people.
The unfortunate thing about being in this online community of survivors is seeing how many of us have given up on this possibility. We don’t see healing as possible, we think that because we have pain from our past that we can never have joy, and love as well. (As if life isn’t about both good and bad!) We assume that it’s “safer” to isolate ourselves away from anyone who could hurt us, instead of recognizing that we’ve already survived some of the most hurtful things that could be survived. That means that, as an adult, you have the strength to survive a break up, or a damaged relationship. What is lacking are just the confidence to know that you will continue on, and that those positive memories are out there waiting for us.
So survivors, let me say it again. Someday, we are all going to die. What legacy do you want to leave behind? Will it be a legacy of sharing your story and trying to positively affect the people in you life? I hope it will be. The world needs more of that.