by Dave Markwell

Bad news: You’re going to die.

Good news: (at least if you’re reading this…) You’re NOT DEAD YET!!

I write this as a simple statement of fact. If you’re not dead yet, it means that you’re alive, and this should provide some sense of hope…I hope. When we’re alive, we have another chance. We can change things we want to change. We can create and grow and learn and live better. This is hope.

We have little to no control over our birth or our death. We have tremendous control over what happens in between them. Life happens in between these bookends. This is where we write our stories. We paint our lives through our daily thoughts and actions. Over these things, we have control. This is liberating to me. We decide. We choose. We often think we don’t have control, but we do. And, at any point in time, we can change our story.

A friend of mine died last week. Gratefully, the middle of his story was rich. He explored and worked and played with all of the time his story allowed. Though his story was shorter than it should have been, it was wide. It was full of joy and fun and people he cared about and who cared about him. He was an inspiration to me in that he demonstrated the power of a day and the vast potential living in a moment. He chose well and he lived well and he left behind a legacy of how to do both. He will be missed, but like a few of the special people, he will live through the power of his example and the fond remembrance of his wit and kindness and his courage to live the life he chose.

Listening to my daughter practicing piano as the sun rises over the waters of my life, I contemplate my story and I am reminded of my inevitable end. It is not with sadness that I ponder these things. It is with hope and urgency that I chose to claim this day. It will not fall into the well of wasted days. I will work and play and grow and learn and craft and shape my story well. Today. It’s the only one I have. It’s the only day any of us have. So, I hope that YOU play and grow and live a day that advances your dreams. Though, we may not have much sanction over the beginning or the end of our stories, an exciting and inspiring middle is ours to manifest. Today’s a good day to paint a beautiful story…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, whose first book is called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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