Saturday, October 23, 2021

Mortality provides life’s deadline

Shannon Williams

When my team and I began discussion about the cover theme for this issue, the thought of funeral homes and anything pertaining to death seemed, well…a bit ghastly.

“That’s so morbid.” “No one wants to talk about death.” “Will there be any interest,” were some of the statements and questions that arose during our lively (pun intended) discussion.

And even as I prepared to write this column, there was heaviness in my mood. I tried repeatedly to write something – never fully formulating my thoughts. So time after time, I’d sit down to begin typing and I would find myself easily distracted by an email, a phone call, and even my own thoughts.

Writing is a creative process. Sometimes the creativity can flow as fast and free as an ocean stream, and other times, creativity can slowly drip, drip, drip like a leaking faucet. Neither applied to me the numerous times I attempted to conjure up an angle for this column.

Part of the reason I struggled in writing this particular column is because I didn’t want to sound overly ethereal by offering those same comments that we’ve all heard a million times. You know, phrases like “Death is a part of life.” “Everything comes full circle.” “We are here but for a season.”

The other reason I struggled with this column is because I didn’t want to make light or offer “fluff,” for what is a very serious matter. I did not want my words to be inconsequential.

And so here you are; reading several paragraphs later and still not much in terms of substance.
So much for that whole inconsequential thing, huh?

OK…here’s my best shot.

Death is a reality. It’s something that we all have to endure at some point or another. Knowing that death is imminent, we should look at it as a deadline of sorts. But not in a negative way. We should view death as a different way to live our lives on a day-to-day basis.

This thing called time that we all have right now, won’t always be available to us…it will eventually run out. So that’s why we should give life our best shot. We should make the most of the time we have.

Remember how I said death is kind of like a deadline?

In knowing that it is coming, there is no need to procrastinate. We can all use our deadline as an incentive to do more now: professionally and personally.

But doing more doesn’t always have to translate into acquiring more things. Doing more can also be in your experiences and even the legacy you leave behind.

I have had my fair share of conversations with people whose deadline was rapidly approaching. Most of them had a terminal illness and doctors had pursued all options until there were none left. When I had those very insightful conversations, not once did someone tell me they wish they had more money, or they’d like to live in a mansion before they die. Instead, they talked about meaningful things such as wanting more time to spend with loved ones, being a better employee simply because they knew they had the capacity to do greater things, taking time to relax, arguing less, laughing more.

Sometimes we take life for granted. We think there is an infinite amount of time between now and our deadline. But reality speaks a different truth. Reality tells us that our days are numbered.

A wise woman who is currently in her 80s once told me to love hard – as long as I get the same kind of love in return, seek peace in life, strive to always be my best me, and realize when enough is enough.

As I get older, wiser and inadvertently closer to whatever deadline God has assigned me, I am taking that woman’s words to heart even more than before.

I hope you do too.

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Shannon Williams
President and General Manager

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