How can everything seem so perfect?
Even when people are dying, countries are fighting, children are starving. Every time I have a day that seems too good to be true I can’t help but to think that for someone the whole world is falling apart. For someone it is the worst day of their life.
I remember the day my brother’s best friend died at the age of 18 and through the pain I thought of his family. I thought of how this is the worst day of my life so far, but for his mother it is probably the worst day she will ever experience. His death no doubt changed me and everyone who was close to him, but for his family their whole lives had changed drastically in an instant. Everything was different and would never be the same.
And then I thought of everyone else in the world, everyone who didn’t know Dylan. Certainly there would be other people whose lives had been fractured on that same day, other people who would feel pain worse than I could imagine. But for the majority of people, today would be just like any other. It would not stand out in their memory; it would not change them in any significant way. And there are those for whom today was great, maybe even the best day of their life. Everyday people die, and everyday people are born.
I guess these are depressing, morbid thoughts. But maybe it’s important to remember that having a good day is a blessing. Around every corner that worst day of your life may be waiting. So at the end of a lovely day like today – one in which nothing extraordinary happened but everything seemed just right – I take the time to just feel. Take a deep breath and pay attention to that strange warm feeling in my chest and the song I have stuck in my head. In this moment I am happy, and I don’t ever want to forget what that feels like.
I haven’t published any fiction in a while, so I may be a bit rusty. I’m going to try to post at least one fiction piece per month. We’ll see how that goes… Anyway, this was just something I was experimenting with, it might be awful – but there is just something I kind of like about it. Hope it’s somewhat enjoyable (I swear, I’m not crazy):
So, I was walking through the forest the other day and I just couldn’t stop looking at the dirt. It was one of those moments in life when you see something totally mundane, something that you see all the time, but this time it’s just super interesting for some reason.
What is dirt? What is it really? Bits of all things dead? Bits of all things living? Or is it some strange combination of the two? Can you imagine if all things were a combination of dead and alive? This is the point where I started imagining people going about their days, just like everything is normal, but with dead bodies everywhere.
Your grandpa dies in bed of a heart attack, and you just leave him there. Maybe someone chokes to death at dinner, and you never need to find anyone else to fill their chair. Road kill remains in the road, half eaten by vultures, or whatever. Dead bodies floating in rivers, filling up convalescent homes and hospitals. And the living just go about their day as if there aren’t rotting corpses in every corner.
A crazy thought, I know. But looking down at the dirt, it sort of occurred to me that we kind of already do that. The dead are underground or burned to ashes, but they’re still somewhere. We can’t make them disappear; we can just pretend they aren’t there. That’s what the dirt is really made of: the things we want to ignore.
On October 27, 2008 my brother’s best friend passed away at the age of 18. I’m not going to write about his disease or how unfair it seems that he was taken at such a young age. I just want to briefly tell you how strong he was.
He was the strongest person I’ve ever known. It doesn’t matter that his bones were weak and his spine was curved. He probably looked like an eighty year old man from afar. He had to use a wheelchair more and more as he got older and near the end he had to start using oxygen. But he was so strong. Stronger than any athlete or body builder could ever be.
Even though he had come startlingly close to death at least twice that I can remember, I never expected him to die. It was a shock. No matter how strong he was he just couldn’t fight it any longer.
Whenever I’m struggling or thinking that I have it hard, I remember him and how strong he was. If that sort of strength is capable in someone who has had to struggle every moment in his life, I can summon enough strength to get through whatever I need to get through. Humans are capable of getting through anything – that is what he has taught me. Real strength is not about being tough or untouchable; it’s about fighting whatever it is you need to fight with everything you’ve got.