a note from a tattooed minister

“After this, I will never waste another day in my life.”
I held a set of keys in the palm of my hand this morning to remember where I came from.
And though the door that once opened no longer exists, I keep these keys to remind myself there will always a place for me
(somewhere)

See, I know what it means to be angry. I know how to hold onto hate and resentment.
For years, I fed from this and saw the fire from my rage as the only source of warmth.
I know what sin is. I know what it means to be selfish and self-absorbed.
I know I wasted decades because I thought this way.

A man at work used to yell a lot. Each morning he would sit at his desk and shout into the phone. He screamed at his employees, and yelled at the contractors he dealt with. There was no margin for error and the man had zero tolerance.
There were some good days. Not every conversation with him was a reprimand; not everything was an argument, or a tense. However, on bad days, his anger was like an old Gatling gun, churning, and shooting off rounds of heavy artillery.

There was too much on his plate. He placed importance on the wrong aspects, and he was made aware of this when he learned about her death.
“I will never waste another day in my life again,” he said.

A girl I know often sees butterflies as a sign from heaven. She says, “This is my child’s way of saying hello.”
I admire her. Even through the toughest loss, her faith has never suffered. Her love has never changed, and while she still feels sadness, her soul remains unbroken.

Thursday evening, December 5, 2013
I walked into the funeral home for an old neighborhood friend. As kids, we moved in different circles. We knew the same people as well as each other’s names; however, we never sat down together, broke bread, or had a drink.
Years passed, but social media came to life, and this connected me with people from another time, and friends I grew up with.
Safe to say, if I passed many of these old friends on the street, or say, walked by them in a restaurant, we wouldn’t have recognized each other. And again, as a result of today’s social media and profile pictures, it is easier to recognize one another.
But I digress…

I walked into a funeral home to show respect. A friend of mine lost his kid brother, and as a kid brother, I understand that no matter what age we reach, be it in our thirties, forties, and so on…..a kid brother is always a kid brother.

But more than this; my friend has a child fighting through sickness. Before his son’s second birthday, the little boy was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
This shakes the family tree, but the root of that tree did not falter. The root is the base and strength of anything that grows. Be it spiritual, figurative, or literal, a man’s root determines whether he will stand against any wind, or fall, and whither in the face of storms.

When I approached my friend; he smiled. Perhaps his smile was the most loving I have ever seen. In the face of sadness…..he smiled.
I do not have the strength this man has. I do not have the courage, the patience, or perhaps the understanding.
In a world of adversity—he smiled. This does not undermine his love, or refuse his grief in a time of loss.
It only shows his substance.
I admire that.

I will not waste another day of my life.

Dylan Thomas wrote, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”
That means live every second
…..every minute
…..every hour
…..and every day
I will not waste another chance to live.  I will not waste another opportunity or allow another moment to be underfed by regret.

It says in Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God.”

The only one that can separate me from this is me….
and after this, I will never waste another day in my life

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