What of you remains?

I had an interesting conversation with a doctor the other day.

He’d recently undergone a temporary health-limiting episode that forced him out of the daily rat race, cocooning him at home with time, space and quiet in which to examine a few things. 

He said he found himself wondering if he were to die tomorrow, would he be able to look back on the way his life played out and be satisfied. This is nothing new, of course. This has been going on since people learned how to record their thoughts on walls—or paper. 

He realized he’s been doing good things. Things like running his practice, keeping his bills paid, attending to the health and welfare of his family and patients. But however good that all was — is — he realized he wasn’t so sure it was going to be enough by the time his ticket gets punched for the last time. 

That constant yearning–There HAS to be more–isn’t there?–is never far away, and medical conditions make the best impetus for forcing people into that perspective-observation mode.

Of course I am going to pose the question to you. 

How satisfied are you with what you’ve done to date? 

There’s been a new melody dogging you in your mind lately. Have you captured it yet–on paper or in your recording software program? 

Have you finished those poetry lines that came sneaking around the corner as you listened to the news? You know the ones that wouldn’t let you drift off to sleep with ease that night? 

How about that story of when you were 12 years old that your daughter asked you to write down over two years ago? And you said you would. 

And all of those novel notes you’ve been collecting. Are you just collecting them for the hell of it or are you going to take off and play at the keyboard and see what’s there?

Have you given that dialogue that came floating in through the kitchen window the other day an owner yet? You knew you liked the voice as soon as it appeared. 

Do you really think that unfinished quilt waiting on the top shelf in your bedroom is going to finish itself? You’d specifically asked your mother to stitch her initials and the date in the corner.

And working with the paints makes you nervous you say? So what. That picture you showed me last week has something in it. Screw the nerves. Get back at it.

Always wanted to try fusing glass? Or work with clay? Or take voice lessons? Or see if Baked Alaska is really simple to make?  

My brother, the only one I have out of the two I started with, starts chemotherapy in a couple weeks. He has been recording guitar arrangements on some computer software gizmo that he likes to play around with for several years now. A long time ago he earned spending money in college playing for a rock ‘n roll band. That band will be inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this coming weekend. He’s been faithful about sharing his new musical renditions with many of us on CD’s that he runs off from his “home recording sessions” in his den. We like getting them, and we expect to receive many more. 

What will you leave behind for someone else? 

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