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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chains

I went to another funeral yesterday. 

He was killed by a drunk driver.  Ivan was a son, father, friend and brother, gone too soon like so many others.

During the traditional Catholic mass, there was not a dry eye in the house.  And more so, what was really amazing was the priest's compassion.  He knew Ivan and was connected to the family, he watched him grow up.

This priest gave one of the most honest and heartfelt sermons during the service, I truly felt like he understood and had deep sympathy for all those in attendance.  Rather than sit on the pulpit, spewing off words out of the bible, he stood directly in front of the family, spoke from his heart and embraced each one with genuine love and compassion.

There were about 400 people at this funeral, maybe more.  The church was packed and Ivan was a friend to each and every one of them.  I saw people I had not seen since high school over 20 years ago. 

It's times like these that we fondly remember the days of our youth and how quickly they pass.  We make proclamations to see one another again, "not under these circumstances," but yet we never seem to find the time...Until we meet again at someone else's funeral.

I am no stranger to loss.  It is a time to reach out to those that are still here.  It is a time to mourn, remember and reflect.  It is a time to feel deep sadness.  It is also an opportunity to grow. 

Clearly we know that life is short and can be taken from us any minute. And still we let the world hold us back, hold us down, from opening our hearts and following our dreams. But is it the world that holds us back or is it ourselves? 

 Maybe the the Eagles summed it up the best...

"So often times it happens, that we live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key..."

When I think about the people I've lost, people like Ivan, I think about how they lived.  Did they live their lives in chains?  What they would have done differently if they had the chance? 

While it may seem cliche, life really is about taking the bull by the horns and living, really LIVING.  We've still got the chance so we ought to try our best to do it with what's in our hearts and follow our dreams.  Carpe diem, as the saying goes.

When will you open your lock and seize the day?  It's the simple things in life like laughter and joy that we take for granted.  It's much easier to forgive and let go of anger, hatred and resentment than it is to walk around carrying those heavy chains.

Today take a little time to to remember the people we have loved and lost. Take time to daydream, forgive and practice gratitude.  Take time to reconnect with someone you've lost contact with.  Take some time to connect with your true self and open your heart.

It may seem daunting but if you start with a little searching and a lot of patience, and I am certain that you will find your key.

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