Our life has some momentum. The direction and intensity of the motion will vary by person, but we are people on the move. We choose. We act. We defer. So, what happens when the big “Pause” button is hit?
This question has been jingling in my mind since my brother’s accident, and it kindled again this weekend while watching a solid movie called The Descendants.
The Pause button in life is when:
- We may not be able to speak for ourselves.
- We may not be able to do for ourselves.
- We may be physically present, but our mental capabilities are idled.
The Pause button, bluntly stated, is when our life becomes comatose or worse. It is those unexpected events that slam into our life, upending it from whatever course we are on.
As Donald Miller so accurately points out, our life is a story. It is unfolding with the good, bad, and ugly choices we make and have made. We are a significant character in our life story, with many supporting cast members. We play the lead role, hopefully.
When our lead role is taken out, our supporting cast has to jump in and carry our story forward until such time we gain our role back. If this never happens, then our story ends, placed on the bookshelf to gather dust or be remembered for the lessons our life may have been fortunate enough to offer.
Here is the tough part for the supporting characters: We have to understand your life decisions and directions and then try to continue or tie-up the dangling story lines. The choices you made, or did not make, now need to be made by the people who have been around you. And, we may not know exactly what you were doing or not doing.
Life can be messy, and the dangling story lines in our life need to be limited. Or, said another way, how proud would you be to have someone else tie-up your story’s loose ends? The answer to this question directs a penetrating light on how delighted you are with your life at this very moment in time.
I can tell you this. Doing this is worse than sneaking a peak at your sister’s secret diary. It is not written words of desires or thoughts; it is real actions – taken or not – that come to light and need to be addressed.
You may be thinking right now, what am I really talking about? I am talking about:
- If you don’t have an advance directive, how will your care be handled?
- If you are behind financially, does anyone know, and who will pay your bills?
- If you are having an extramarital affair, how will that play out in your absence?
- If your business practices are less than honest, who will pay the consequences?
You may notice that each of these have a negative thread to them, and they are the stray story lines we write into our life sometimes… unfortunately.
There could be other matters as well, like:
- Who will continue the lead role in your charity initiative?
- Who will publish your newly written book?
- Who will lead your mission-worthy organization forward?
Each contains a more positive story line, although the questions still need to be answered during disruptive times.
Here’s the point:
- We need live our life story fully.
- We need to leave only the dangling story lines that will make people proud to carry them forward.
- We need to have contingency plans for the vital story lines we want to have carried forward by others when we can no longer play that role.
Our life is a story, and no one’s story is perfect.
The simple fact is this: We need to live our life in a way that we are proud of all our story lines, and we would welcome anyone to peek in while we are present or not. We need to live in a way that others would be inspired by what we have done and weave certain aspects of our actions into their own life story.