By Elisa Morgan
Live! The word can be an adjective – as in live stream or live event or just alive. Or it can be a verb – as in live!
The verb form – live – captured me yesterday. With a nudge. No, more than that. With a challenge. Hmmm. Even more than that: a command. Live! Get off your ---- and live!
It wasn’t like some dramatic event had occurred, jarring me into the present. I was just sitting and tapping away on my keyboard while occasionally looking out at the vista of the day and somehow I realized I was hovering. Floating above myself, hummingbird-like.
I think I’ve actually been hovering for a while now. Maybe months. Spinning from blossom to blossom. Attempting a landing only to jerk away and spin off in another direction. I reach my mental toe down to land in the moment and then something inside jerks it back up and away I fly with my thoughts. Suspended above the life that is mine.
Yesterday, as I caught myself mid-hover, I heard the command, live!
Wasn’t I already living? I worked. I ate. I walked and talked and connected with others. But maybe not all the way living? I noticed a space between life and living. A numb zone where life held itself in place. I breathed in and found that I only halfway filled my lungs. Same with my exhale. Partial thoughts refused to make whole sentences. This was off.
So, I reached my toe down from my mid-air fluttering and tentatively felt around until I touched something solid. Just a brush at first but then as I relaxed the arch of my foot to horizontal, a solid surface welcomed me to stand. Still.
I pause and count back through the past twelve months. January: Uncle Jim. March: Dick. I start forgetting the dates but remember the names: Brad, brother-in-law Newlin, Rex, Ellen, Ed, Virginia, Penny and Carey. So many names of so many that I’ve loved and lost in this life. And not only the deaths but the illnesses and limitations facing so many. Carol has neck surgery and Matt experiences an almost-stroke. Dick, Jeff, Jeff and Jeff (three Jeffs altogether), Bonnie, Nathan and Georgia are diagnosed with cancer. Kirby continues to wait for a liver transplant. I break my arm and go through months of physical therapy. The year before last I say goodbye to Janis, Richard, Lance, Christy and Joel. And before that – more.
There’s something about dying that affects living. Grief wells up and over the edges of the everyday, morphing it into a gray existence. A hovering.
Am I depressing you?
Perhaps some of you – but those may have stopped reading by now. (Smile.) Others of you likely relate. You’ve been touched by the loss of someone(s) no longer here. You will never be the same – nor will your life or your living.
Hovering can be a helpful skill in adjusting to the loss of life. It insulates while still allowing us to continue here on this planet. We pause to absorb the gut-wrenching new reality. Our world tilts. Our brains fog. Our beings untether and float into ether. We hover above the life that is now so different from the life that used to be.
Until hovering is no longer helpful because it has become a sideline posture that holds us back from growth and purpose and even the ability to experience the love that still lives around us. Hovering can become a response to fear, insecurity, the unknown and the new. We can lock in to the hover because it’s familiar. Hovering can become hiding. Then a divine command breaks through the buzz: live! Before you miss your life.
Dying affects our living – definitely. But it doesn’t have to stop our living.
I yield to the command. Reject fear. Put away hopelessness. Heal. Risk. Try again. I touch my toe back down on the solid and land in the now of life. God is here. He has me. Live!
"Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him." (Deut. 30:19-20)
Elisa Morgan is the author of You Are Not Alone. She is the cohost of the podcast, God Hears Her. She is also the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Her other books include, Christmas Changes Everything, When We Pray Like Jesus, Hello, Beauty Full, and The Beauty of Broken. Connect with Elisa @elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.