The Secret of Life
After my father died, I struggled. All of my grandparents passed a while ago, but this was my father. No one would love me like he did ever again. I obsessed over whether or not he was "okay." The logical part assured me that he was. The emotional part scrambled for purchase.
He started coming to me in dreams. Each time I awoke there was a vague memory of him being in there somewhere. He wanted my attention, but my brain was cluttered.
Finally, I had this dream, which I know was a very real conversation between me and my dad - after he died.
In my dream, I was stranded in the middle of a large body of water, with no land in sight. I held in my hands something that could save me. But the only thing that I had to activate it was a sharp implement and the device was delicate. It required navigating a lot of dangerous territory to reach one of two canisters. A voice told me that if the sharp implement punctured anything other than the canisters, which were difficult to reach, I would die.
I asked, "What happens if I choose to not try to reach the canisters?"
The voice said, "You will die."
Anxiety flooded my system. Not trying ceased to be an option, so I took a shot and lost. The voice, which I believe was God, told me that I had punctured something other than the canisters and now I would die.
I asked, "Will I drown?"
The voice said, "No. A foam-like substance will leak out of the canisters and expand to consume all of the air space."
Death stared me in the face. Ironically, all of the anxiety dissipated. When you KNOW you are going to die, you don't get upset. At least I didn't. My first thought was that I would be with my dad again.
"So, I am going to die," I said to God. I was resigned. It was okay.
And then I heard my father say this, " You know we're all gonna die someday." He always had this incredibly dry sense of humor. I turned around and there he was. He was young. He looked just as I remembered him when I was a kid. Too see him and hear him again acted like a balm to my wounded soul.
I laughed. He was right, after all.
He then said, "It is all about what you do now. Create all you can while you can." He then paused and said, "Do you want to see what I have been working on?"
"Yes," I said.
He pulled out a piece of wood, circular in shape, one inch thickness, approximately 24 square inches. He said that he cut, sanded, stained, finished, and painted the artwork himself. Delicate flowers burnt the wood into a lovely design. He painted the flowers in blues, purples, and yellows. They inter-weaved themselves like a vine across the wood. In the middle there was a saying that I wish I could remember, but the essence was not to take yourself too seriously. Have fun with this thing called life.
I was filled with genuine surprise. My father didn't make anything like this when he was alive and that was the point. Death isn't an ending. It's another beginning. When we live in spirit, we understand all of the things we didn't while we were here. We see ourselves as creators. We want to venture into territory that previously made us uncomfortable.
He accomplished two things in that dream. First, I knew he was okay. He talked to me. He showed me that he was thriving. Second, he handed me the secret to living our best possible life. Reach. Stretch. Create. Extend yourself beyond what is familiar. It is the joy in life. It is why we are here.
Written By: Robin Richards