At the same time every month, you know it will appear. You begin with anticipation, then delight, but soon fear. What will I say this time, what can I possibly write to 7 million readers, that’s what brings the fright.
Michael Hurwitz soon comes calling, an email from L.A. Our many readers at Gov. Talk, are waiting to hear your say. It needs to be original, set us all on fire. A work related topic, or something to inspire. About 800 words, make sure you are not late.
You start up your computer, a blank page on the screen and many hours later, still nothing to be seen. You are desperate for an angle, somewhere to make a start. Something from the world, or something from the heart.
I’ll tell them to climb their mountain, just keep going towards the top. It will not be about how high you reach, but that you never stop. Or I’ll write of my experience, when lying in intensive care. It was only when my plate was clean, before I knew how much was there. Will I try to give perspective, to those who cannot see? How truly lucky we really are, to be alive and well and free.
Often blind in a busy world, with lives that are constantly stressed. But if we shift the viewpoint, we are the ones who are blessed. I could tell a funny story, about an Irishman away, a midnight cowboy in Helsinki, or when a trip to Cardiff, was the only thing to do when I couldn’t get a ticket, for my son to see U2.
I could tell about my focus, with the end of life in sight. How new resolve was found within, nothing mattered, but the fight. How I had to deal with dying, too inevitable to ignore and when cancer knew I had no fear, the inevitable was no more.
From there I became untouchable, it was the ultimate I could give. By not being afraid to die, I gave myself the greatest chance to live. How I kept a blinkered vision, no matter what the trial. Just run the stretch in front of you, each inch will make a mile.
How I always set my target, to be the best patient I could be. I made sure it was my role, to help everybody else help me. And how I found my youngest son, when I had nothing left within “You can quit for yourself Liam. But you just can’t quit for him”.
Will I write about dying, a topic we rarely go near? In the fog of our busy lives, we forget that we are here. And that it doesn’t matter what you have, only what you do. The life you leave behind you, will be the real true legacy of you. For everything I have been through, it seems I have much to give. When you look your death in the eye, you know what it means to live. That is what I have to offer, that’s what I can write. An ability to see the world, in a completely different light.
And yet for all the hardship, there were many blessings too. I now see more with one eye, than I did before with two. I will tell them how I treasure, each day with immense pride. How can I complain again, when I really should have died.
It’s as if my life was returned to me, and now I am God’s debtor. A second chance to live again, a chance to die much better. So live each day as best you can, nobody can ask you more. And I believe that if you do, death will have a surprise in store. We grasp this world, with all its flaws, trusting only what we see, but perhaps the end, is just the start, of life as it should be.
So live the life in front of you, keep climbing without fear. We know that life is beautiful, but the summit is not here.
Leaving the office a brainwave strikes, as I begin the journey home. Now I know what I’ll do this month, I’m going to write a poem!