The Folly of Saving Your Life

My father was a conservative — with a small c. He lived as a starving boy of the Depression his entire life, no matter how much he earned. He was afraid to live. Terrified all the things he earned would be the last things his times would drop into his world. If he could have horded life — and its girlfriend, Precious Time — he would have held them captive. Kidnapped them for the ransom of not being afraid they’d run out on him.

Alas, my father gone. Life and that girlfriend — Precious Time — caught the last train for the shore my father loved, but never fully walked. They left him behind. He’s in his grave, having left too much of himself unspent.  My father now knows saving time hording life is folly.

Life isn’t made for hording. It’s built for doing. Time is made to get spent. Get conservative with either at the risk of wallowing on spiny-as-hell deathbed regrets.

Spend yourself. Afraid? Then ask, for what — and whom — am I conserving my life? My time? Knowing that Fear will steal both, right out from under us.


One Response to “The Folly of Saving Your Life”

  1. I love, love, LOVE this. When I was 29 I was diagnosed with a disease called IgA Nephropathy. I was told that my kidney function had dropped to about 60% at that time, and that it would continue to do so until eventually I would need dialysis or a transplant. Or, my kidneys might suddenly fail without warning and I would die.

    At the time I was a single mom. I had two young daughters in elementary school, and I remember for a few weeks, feeling as though I should probably not bother hoping to see them graduate from high school. Eventually though, I started living my life from a different perspective. I started treasuring minutes more than days. I started taking chances. I got comfortable with having regrets.

    I just turned 45 this year. I started in-home dialysis 2 years ago.

    Since that day when I was 29, newly diagnosed and worried I would never live to see my daughters grow up, I’ve learned that some of the unexpected things life gives us are good things. I never expected to see my girls grow up, but I did. They are both beautiful, strong, compassionate young women finding their places in the world. On Valentine’s Day this year, I held my first granddaughter in my arms and marveled at the beauty in that minute in time. A precious minute that I never dreamed I would get to live.

    Oh, and I have a son. A son! He was born when I was 38, with only 15% of my kidney function left. I was told to abort; I would never be able to carry him to term, they said. But we beat the odds, and this amazing little boy has kept me anchored, kept me strong, given me purpose even on the darkest of days when I wanted to wallow in despair or walk in the shade of that big black balloon of “death” that has been floating above my head for most of my adult life.

    Will I live to see him become a man? I don’t know. I’d like to, but if I don’t, I will leave this world knowing that I tried my very best to use up every minute I had with him. He will know I loved him with everything I have in me, he will know I’ve done my very best to teach him gentleness and kindness. I will live on in that little boy, long after he’s a man. I will live on through my daughters, in their braveness and compassion for others.

    Time is worth so much more than money. You can’t bank it. It is far to precious to waste.


    Love your blog, Michael. So glad I stumbled upon it.

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