Monday, March 29, 2010

The Living, the Dead, and the Dreams that Unite

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."
~Henry David Thoreau

"So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key."

~The Eagles

"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly."
~Lanston Hughes

"A skillful man reads his dreams for self-knowledge, yet not the details but the quality."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


I’m dying…

But so are you…

We all die.

Those three monosyllabic words are hard to accept, aren’t they? But make no mistake, there will come a day when the hands of time fall from out vigilant wall clocks and take us by OUR hands as they lead us into the great unknown.

So it’s agreed; we all see the same destiny. But what we do in the waiting room, which is so lovingly called life, is what separates our paths and determines how we will be remembered and how we will spend eternity.

I’ve often wondered what I would think about if I was staring down the barrel of a gun. Would I be fearful? You bet! Wouldn’t we all?

But, what else?

I am sure I’d be concerned with how my family would take the news. But I think I’d be most consumed by what there “would be” after the dust settles. What would be my legacy? What would be written below the years on my tombstone? How would my family tell my stories?

It’s a lot of questions; I know. But why not ask them now? Why not be mindful of the fact that we will all stare down the barrel of a gun.

I’ve heard from several ill family members that a lot of people don’t start living until they learn they’re dying. How strange... Aren’t we all dying? And yet in that knowledge, may I ask, are we all really living? Perhaps not.

Why must we be told “you’re dying” by a stranger in a white lab coat to believe that we are?

So, I’ve got to start planning things a little better. I’ve got to get busy living! I’ve got to figure what I want to leave behind in the hearts and minds of others. Because, friends, I am dying...

But don’t feel bad for me… You’re dying too!

On a serious note now, I’m thinking about my legacy again. What’s going to be the way I am remembered? What great parts of me do I want to be passed down and perhaps imbedded into the beautiful stories of my family’s history, or the beautiful dispositions of my future children? If I can only pick just a few things, I know I better make them great. So in the long run I’ve got to work on living out what I want my children and their children to take pride in. I want to be a woman who loved hard, forgave easily, and LIVED HER DREAMS...

Dreams are so precious.

Dreams breathe life into our darkest moments.

Dreams allow us to have the hope that we can climb out of the pit of despair.

Dreams allow us to see our better selves.

Dreams allow us to breathe a little easier.

Dreams push us to do extraordinary things.

Dreams give other the permission to think the impossible is indeed possible.

And sometimes, DREAMS are all we really have.


Now, you may be wondering what's got me so focused on dreams lately...

Well, not too long ago, a man by the name of Randy Pausch—you may have heard of him—was given the terrible news that he was dying of pancreatic cancer. He was a young man. A husband. A father to small children. A college professor at the height of his career. He had every reason to LIVE.

But, as it often is in life, there is no fairness.

But instead of burying his head in the sand, instead of crying out a “poor me,” instead of throwing in the towel, Dr. Pausch did the extraordinary. He made his cancer and journey to understanding life about other people. Randy knew he had a great deal of knowledge to impart, with very little time to do it in.

So Randy started sharing...

His BIG thing, as he faced certain death, was to share his message to LIVE YOUR DREAMS! He could have said anything else: get an education, live a healthy lifestyle, get regular examinations… But instead, he wanted to leave one undying message to his loved ones and students as he stood before them dying: You must REALLY live your childhood dreams.

And from this sharing came his life’s work: a book by the name of The Last Lecture. It’s a powerful read, and I promise you will not be able to put it down. His words will transform your mind so that you can see the world differently.

Sadly, in July of 2008, Randy Pausch passed away. But his message resonates even stronger today and continues to touch millions of lives.

THAT is his legacy!

So in close, I must admit that to recap the length of his message would be a huge disservice to a wonderfully charismatic man. Instead, I will leave you with the “last lecture” that inspired his best-selling book… because—in life and in dreams—seeing is believing:

P.S. THANKS, Randy, for changing so many lives and for leaving your beautiful “ripple effect” on this world now that you are gone. I will always remember to live my legacy and to dream BIG because of you!


  1. Thanks for the reminder that we may not have tomorrow so we had better wake up and live out our dreams today. Randy Pausch was a remarkable man.

  2. I am yet to read the book. I am sure it is a very powerful and strong one.

    Your post is really a reminder for all of us.

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