As I dropped off Eli at school for day #4 the song 'I will survive' popped into my head.
I'd always heard this phrase as some clinging future hope, like 'this WILL eventually, hopefully - if I work really hard and don't give up - happen'. But as the words bounced in my head this morning it struck me quite differently. I heard them as present tense, almost past tense - like an exhale of relief "I will survive". We've done it. The thick is in the rear view mirror. I have hope for his future and the man he is growing into becoming.
I have been interviewed a lot since our Thank You Project video went viral 2 years ago. As I write this now, it has well over 100 million views across many platforms. The single most common question people ask me is 'why did I wait 10 years to do this?' The answer is simple: until then we were just trying to survive. After going through such traumatic tragedy along with Eli's sustained injuries, survival was all we had capacity for. It took everything we had to survive. I didn't realize how stripped down to bare bones our life had become until beginning to find myself on what I call 'the other side of tragedy'.
After living in survival mode for so many years it almost requires you to learn how to live all over again. Only this time we are living with a greater intentionality and appreciation for life and it's fragile preciousness. One might say this is a gift of tragedy; something tragedy trusts you with should you choose to receive it.
I've been thinking how so often people wait to really live until they know they're about to die and as they're dying wish they had really lived. Going through tragedy at a young age awakens one to this while there's still time for living. There are no do-overs. So moving past surviving for us looks like doing all we can to sink all we have into living life fully as long as its called today. Haven't fully mastered this yet, but we try our best to live with intentionality towards this goal.
Are you surviving? Are you coasting? Are you living?