A few months ago my 31 year old brother collapsed, without warning, and died. It was an undetected heart arrhythmia. And since then, I’ve had a paradigm shift. A huge one. His sudden departure, from this mortal phase of existence, has caused me to see life so differently. And it has especially caused me to see other’s so differently. Like I notice them more. And I feel of their malady more. At times I am overcome with moroseness for the abundant affliction that persists here. Not just in my familiar circle, where four babies and a loving wife are left fatherless and husbandless, but within all the lives of all of these people. Admittedly, I even question, at times, if life as man is more about enduring, rather than enjoying.
However, accompanying this heightened commiseration for the plight of mankind, is an acquired bravery and courage, courage that I failed to notice existed inside. It’s like there is this true grit that stirs with vigor and eagerness at life yet to be lived. That I am here in this body experiencing loads of incredible and radical emotion, getting soaked by life, by all of it. And to be weighing the amount of good against the bad, or the pain versus the joy, or toil competing rest, is pretty much pointless. Because the point of it all, is to get wet. In other words, it is becoming acquainted with the whole gamut of emotion and sensation and experience.
And when we look around, we realize, everyone else is getting wet too.
In recognizing the communal nature of life rain, we suddenly feel greater strength to not only abide the wetness, but to maybe even sing and dance together in it.
Overall, life is to be lived in, and lived in side by side. It must be felt in all its pain and glory so that whenever this part concludes, whether at age 31 or 101, we will feel entirely rendered and worn out, joyful that we took full advantage of this incredible ride.
(Images of the “Rain Room” exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in Manhattan)