Today, during another transformational Friday Band practice, we talked about death as regards to our work. For many of us our identity is tied to our work. We talk about faith and family, certainly. We talk about our identities as a neighbor and friend. We talk about hobbies, travel, and charitable contributions. However, when we talk to ourselves, we mostly tell ourselves we’re our position, profession, or production. So, when the world takes away our professional position, we lose ourselves. Actually, we lose our sense of self.
Feels like death.
It. Is. Not. So, friend, don’t fear death and don’t overly identify with your position. You are not just King or Queen of Wall Street or any other avenue. You are so much more. Embrace all your names – your I am’s. Do not fall in love with what others name you.
Long ago, I remember losing out on my dream job. I was passed over for the presidency that I thought I’d earned. I hadn’t played the game and should have known better. I was a dumbass. Got what I deserved. Miss woke me up that this too was good. She was right. Thank God, I didn’t die when the corporate window closed. My best work is still ahead. Almost twenty years into BTL and the band is just starting to turn it up. I’m going to die singing my song. A few are singing along. More than enough for me. I know whose I am and am figuring out who I am. I’m not afraid of professional death, just happy I’ve turned pro. I am BBTL. I am aiming at mastery. I am mastering the art of living. I am a work in process. And, I am so much more. How ‘bout you?
Live hard. Love harder…
3 thoughts on “Day 8 (Death)…”
I’m designing more than ever, as I have learned that if I don’t design, someone else will, or no one else will – either way I lose and my life goes into default mode. A few years ago I traded leading a bunch of great people I still call friends for leading 2 small kids and a home front. Naively I thought this “death” would be no big deal…turns out it was. I had to make some “tuition payments” as I learned these lessons, however it led me down new paths. A dive into the stoics, mindfulness practice, new opportunities and better relationships. As I just read in the book Greenlights, I began “engaging with myself first, then with the world”.
On the timeline of eternity, this life is an imperceptibly small dot. There was plenty going on before I was born and there will be plenty after I leave the planet. The Master reminds us to live so as to build treasure in heaven. Not always sure what that means, but I try to be aware and deliberate in my beliefs, thoughts and actions to keep moving in that direction. I believe what we call death, is a transition from a time-bound existence to an eternal, timeless existence. I believe the Christ has provided a Way to remain in the Father’s presence after that transition.
For much of my life I identified myself by my vocation, leading successful businesses, building teams, thinking I’d continue to retirement. Twice now, it’s been taken away. At my request (a dangerous prayer) the Master is doing whatever is necessary so that I may follow Him and not trust my life to worldly wealth or success.
I am easily distracted so I ask Him to remove those distractions so I can remain focused on Love and Truth. He likens it to him being a vine and me a branch, where the Master of the vineyard prunes the branch so it will bear more fruit for others. Those parts of me that do not bear fruit for others must die. Death is a regular part of a fruitful life.
As The Apostle said, “I am crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. The life I live in the flesh, I live by faith in (or of) the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) I remind myself of my identity every afternoon when my alarm goes off at 2:20 PM.
I am working to live by design, but have a long way to go. I have started to write, reflect, and rinse out my Worldview to find that many of my “beliefs,” habits, and actions are borrowed from those around me. Some are true to my core, many are not. This is a hard pill to swallow. Going deeper, as I continue to define these beliefs, the bigger and more challenging piece to the puzzle working to close the gaping integrity gaps in my life, hidden in plane sight. It’s easy for me to be on auto-pilot or default when I haven’t slowed down long enough to articulate my beliefs. But once I have, once they are written, reality sets in and it becomes blatantly obvious when I’m out of alignment. I’m reminding myself to lean into that dissonance, rather than ignore it and wait for the next distraction to come along and take my focus from it.
Lord, remind me to take the red pill. Help to remind me that life will get progressively easier, or progressively harder. Default or design… I choose design, but Lord I need help along the way.