Nearly 10 years ago my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I have watched as this disease has stole strength and life from one of the strongest people I have ever known. Although the effects of Parkinson’s are somewhat gradual, 10 years later I have a father that is unable to do many of the basic things the rest of us take for granted. He spends a good amount of his day sleeping as there really is not much to live for. His body hurts and it does not work like his mind tells him it should. His mind no longer works like it should either making conversation difficult. This disease has latterly taken his life from him even though he is still living. My mother spends most of her time just trying to keep him comfortable and safe. Having him use his walker so he doesn’t fall is one of the bigger battles and it’s considered a successful day if he does use the tools he has available to stay safe.
Yesterday, my mom watched my youngest boy. After picking up the Kindergartner, my wife went over to pick up C and provide quiet and calm for my parents again. When she arrived, she witnessed a wonderful event that my boys rarely get to experience. She witnessed a water bottle spray battle between my dad and my two little boys. The boys were full of laughter and smiles as they were able to spray, chase, and run away from their grandfather who is usually just sitting or sleeping in his chair when they are around. But even greater than that, she witnessed my dad live life. She witnessed him smiling, laughing, being the man of mischief that he once was, and having the best time of his life. As much as she and my mom loved watching the event unfold, she said they remained anxious because my dad was leaving “safe” behind in order to live. At times he would leave his walker behind to perform his best run through a bumpy, hilly, tree-filled yard. It really was an accident waiting to happen, but living was worth it. Luckily, he didn’t fall, stayed safe, and had the time of his life while giving his grandkids the time of their life.
It made me think a bit this morning. Is living safe? Should our goal in life be to stay safe or to live adventurously. I’m not talking about taking unnecessary risks, rather getting out of our comfort zone and allowing our self to let loose even in the face of potential harm from time to time.
Is it better to be safe by working too much in order to ensure my boss is happy so I keep my job or to take personal time and enjoy the adventures of travel and seeing the world around us?
Is it better to be safe by saving every dime just in case we need it in the future or to enjoy a wonderful musical or meal with the one you love most?
Is it better to sit on the porch avoiding the creatures that can strike fear in many such as snakes or to take walks and experience the beautiful creation and tranquility that God created and gave us?
Is it better to watch from the bench or to ride with hands in the air on a speeding coaster that takes your breath away as you scream, laugh, enjoy the memorable moment with the child or friend?
Is it better to sit quietly and hope someone notices you or to risk rejection by calling or stopping in on a leader that can offer you your dream job?
You get the point and can probably write your own scenario at this point.
I am learning that life is short, we are not guaranteed the future regardless of how safe we live. Safe holds many of us back from living and after watching my dad yesterday, I’m confident he would choose living every day. Don’t let your fear of the unknown harm keep you from living today.
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