FEEL DIFFERENT. [ PART 2 OF 2 ]
And now we have TiVO. Yet another distraction based on television. Now, not only can we watch TV more conveniently, but we can cram 33% more into our heads in the same amount of time after deleting commercials. (Everyone knows a half-hour show really only yields 20 or so minutes of actual entertainment content and the rest is there to fuel our consumerism)
33% more murders.
33% more affairs and adultery.
33% more lawlessness.
33% more rebellion of youth against parents and authority.
33% more drug usage.
Or maybe the flip side is 33% more good things? 33% more educational programming and such? If we watch it? But mostly our tv watching population segment gravitates toward the lurid don't they?
You can either live YOUR life or you can live vicariously through the formulaic and fake world of so-called "reality tv." What an ironic oxymoron. The successful don't care about who just got kicked off of the island or what fake and purposeless relationship was just spawned on the Bachelor / Bachelorette.
Why are you here? Why are you reading this? Why are you staying in touch with people through Facebook and MySpace? Why do we all spend so much time on Facebook and MySpace? Why do we want to look through old yearbooks and notes to remind ourselves of names that we can then go search for on these sites so we can then add them as a friend even if we've not spoken to them in PERSON for 10 years?
THE ANSWER AND THE ONE EXISTENTIAL TRUTH IN THIS BLOG POST WILL IMMEDIATELY FOLLOW IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH:
Because we want to be remembered. We want to know that we existed. That we made a difference. That we left footprints in someone else's life. Or that we made this planet a better place. Facebook and MySpace are "virtual sidewalks" of sorts - the wet cement if you will - for our generation. And we want to leave our initials in it. One day you wake up and you're graduating high school without a clue as to where you're headed and then one day you wake up and realize that tomorrow you are to attend your high school's 10 year reunion and you ask where the time went. You write your name in wet cement because you want to be validated.
"Every moment in time
is just an answer to find
what you're here for,
what you breathe for,
what you wake for,
what you bleed for,
what you hope for,
what you live for."
-Mute Math: Progress
Let them know you weren't scared to take a chance.
In wet cement or in life.
Make your mark.
Taking a chance to decorate someones "freshly smoothed" cement means that you might get caught. You might get in trouble - at least temporarily. But regardless, if you can pull it off, you will be a permanent part of the landscape.
Walking my college campus, I cannot help but notice those that have gone before me and "left their mark" in the cement.
Where are they now?
Successful in career?
Building into leaders of tomorrow?
Service men and women defending our right to write in concrete?
Passed on to the next life?
What was their legacy?
I think the draw to make a mark in concrete stems from our quickly fading lives. It stems from our ingrained desire to know that we were here.
And that we made a difference.
We were here. We helped someone. We succeeded. We fell but got back up. We grew up. We made something of ourselves. We fell but got back up. We gave to the poor and disadvantaged. We adopted a child. We ran for office. We fell but got back up. We did it with passion. We lost a loved one. We fell but got back up. We went to war. We beat a cancer diagnosis. We fell but got back up. We fell but got back up. We fell but got back up. We fell but got back up. We fell but got back up. We lived. And we died.
"I went into the woods because
I wanted to live deliberately.
I wanted to live deep and
suck out all the marrow of life...
to put to rout all that was not life;
and not, when I came to die,
discover that I had not lived."
-Henry David Thoreau
I've lost two former high school buddies and a first girlfriend. What would they have made of this life if it wasn't taken too soon? What will you make of yours?
Our high school had a tradition of a "senior sidewalk" whereby we could pour a new strip of concrete each year and add our graduates' initials to the campus landscape permanently. When our school was demolished to build a new medical school for the Florida State University a couple of us even went so far as to have a discussion about how to pick up the sidewalk and re-plant it at the newly constructed high school across town.
For various reasons - partially because this was an insane idea and the concrete would no doubt be disintegrated into thousands of pieces without the aid of any reinforcement from rebar and partially because we had enough life commitments underway to make something like this impossible - it never materialized. But the sidewalk was such a part of who we were as students that we didn't want that to be forgotten and left to be covered by the sands of time. Inevitably it was and it is what it is.
Use the wet cement of your life to remember someone. Thank someone. Memorialize someone. Honor a mentor. Shamelessly self-promote. Recognize a charity. Start the revolution.
Wet cement knows no countries, borders, skin colors, races, creeds, preferences, political capital, religions, hairstyles, business objectives, clothings styles, strategery, unified differentiality, automobiles, material posessions, diseases, afflictions, pretenses, cell phones, disabilities, frustrations, joys, pains or anything else that we use to "define" ourselves. It only knows names and initials.
Ok, maybe some words and drawings here and there. But you get the point.
It celebrates our differences and our interwoven existences.
It shows that we have lived, loved and maybe, died.
We are only here for but a short time.
Make it great.
Make it special.
Make it amazing.
Make it sincerely.
Make it while reaching out a hand to help someone else up.
Make it even when the odds are against you.
(hint: the odds will ALWAYS be against you)
Make it believable.
Make it with passion.
Nothing is accomplished without passion.
Leave it beautiful. Leave it strong. Leave it wiser. Leave it older. Leave your legacy.
Leave your DNA. Leave it well.
Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day" feels the pressure of trying to "save" everyone from themselves once he knows what will befall them. Most times, people need to learn from their mistakes and ALL of the time, we can't be Superman to everyone else.
This movie illustrates why we need God, why we need each other and why we need to feel. All of our lives are inextricably linked, just like the profiles on Facebook and MySpace. WE cannot save each other, but we can be there for each other. And in the simplicity of "being there," God is also.
And maybe -- just maybe -- God saves others through us -- but not because of us.
I once read a headline on someone's MySpace page that asked, "Am I too old for MySpace?"
To which I reply, "You're never too old for MySpace."
At least, you're not too old for the need to make a difference to someone else.
You're never too old to write in wet cement.
And, you're never too old to find your purpose.
Start today. You'll feel the difference.