Are You Living or Just Existing?

Are you living or just existing? As Alfre Woodard's character in The Family That Preys reflected on the life of her bold and bodacious best friend, this is the question she remembers her posing. I've heard this question many times but somehow set in the context of a memorial service, this question suddenly had the power to stick with me. Earlier as Damon and I mulled over some variation of this question, we determined that rather than living we seem to be operating in more of a survival mode. He ended our discussion by acknowledging that once we get to a steadier place of more financial security, we need to learn to appreciate life more. Later on I couldn't help but to think that maybe we have this all wrong. Maybe our thinking is completely backwards. Maybe it's right here in the midst what we perceive as financial lack that we must learn to live and live fully.

The problem with waiting for financial security to free you to experience life is that when you have it, you oftentimes don't realize you have it until you don't have it anymore. Three years ago when I was still in graduate school, we probably were in the best position to create fun experiences that would bring us joy and broaden our exposure. Unfortunately we just didn't see ourselves as "having it" and although we did some things, we didn't do all of the things I would have liked. We always assumed that once I graduated, I'd settle into a career and there would be more of "it" to provide us with the experiences we wanted. Now here we are years later giving birth to a new business and a new ministry, and I wonder if "it" left because we didn't use it when we had it.

What about you? Are you living or existing? Are you waiting for conditions to change to experience the "life more abundantly" that God wants for all of us? Is it possible that all of the resources have dried up so that you can see that it is indeed possible to live fully and passionately, and experience all that life has to offer simply by being open to the generosity of the universe?

Recently Damon and I passed on buying tickets to see Alicia Keys in concert at Madison Square Garden. Being native New Yorkers we really wanted to see her in NY, but good seats were really pricey and Damon refuses to do the "nosebleed section" at any venue. Yet I couldn't help but notice the great pictures my niece took at a Michael Buble concert from the nosebleed section. Somehow my cost conscious twenty-something niece and her boyfriend, who are just starting out with two small children, manage to make their way to several concerts throughout the year without becoming homeless. In the midst of bills and responsibilities, they infuse fun and joy into their existence. Their example continues to remind me that cheap seats are better than no seats at all because at least you're in the house!