“So what are you going to do with your life?”

When Friday comes around, let’s get inspired – inspired to Get Outside to Enjoy, Value, Protect… and Experience!

upper bald

 

Choices

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

                                    -J.K. Rowling

 

 

“So what are you going to do with your life?”

We were on a late-afternoon mountain hike headed to our favorite waterfall. It had snowed a few inches the day before; but today was low on wind, high on sunshine and begging our cabin-fevered fannies to come out and play. The snow on the bushes and trees nimbly caught each ray of sunshine and tossed it to our eager eyes daring us to blink away its brilliance. While our feet played munchy-crunch with the snow on the trail, our lungs were filled were huffing and puffing the crisp air into misty cartoon talk bubbles; and all the while, my brain was wondering how much of our waterfall would have made love with the temperature and transformed itself into a sexy ice sculpture.

“Huh?” I asked. “What did you say?”

“I said, ‘what are you going to do with your life,’” responded my long-time bud and musical conspirator.

“What do you mean, what am I going to do with my life?” I’m doing it. I have a job, a family, a girlfriend – all that stuff. My life is already in the doing mode.”

“Yeah,” he replied, “But what about your life? YOUR life? Your inside stuff? You know, your hopes, dreams, regrets, aspirations. Jobs, families, girlfriends are great. But what about you?”

“Where’s this coming from,” I asked. “You ditching the music biz and becoming a self-help guru?”

“No.” He paused. I paused. And we let the munchy-crunch of our feet carry on the conversation for a minute or so. “It’s just what I’ve been wondering about myself; and thought I might get some thoughts from you. You know,” he said, “that’s why adults always ask kids what they’re going to be when they grow up. The adults want to get some ideas.” We stopped on the trail to check out about 15 robins which had perched on a branch just ahead of us. They had their own conversation going.MCBRIDE0

“You know,” he said, “This is all we got. This life. And we’re either going to live it to the fullest or we’re not. We’re either just going to mindlessly plod along paying the bills, washing the car, going to work, worrying about relationships or we’re going to do whatever we can to be fully alive. I’ve always wondered…” He was on a roll now. “I’ve always wondered if our souls have sails – or something like sails – which can catch the wind and carry us…what’s that song?…just a dream and a wind to carry me and soon I will be free…But, unless we open our sails, we’ll stay stuck in the harbor.”

“Damn!” I said. “Where’d all this come from?”

“I’ve just been thinking about it,” he replied.

We got to the waterfall, and indeed, it was breathtaking. We stood in silence in the grand and holy cathedral and let the beauty have its way with us. Then, without speaking, we each pulled out a flask shared in communion with this awesome sight.

“So how do you think we might unfurl these soul sails?” I asked without taking my eyes off the dazzling ice altar.

“I’m not sure,” he replied. “But I bet we can. I think we have the know-how. And it finally comes down to the choices we make. Every day. Every moment we make choices. And those choices- and only those choices – determine what we will do with our lives.”

We sat and sipped in that sacred space til they started turning out the lights. But the snow had wisely saved some of the sun’s brilliance and lighted our path all the way to the car. And we both agreed that the waterfall hike was a most excellent choice.

-Howard Hanger (Jubilee! Community, Asheville, NC)

Leave a Comment