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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Living Urgently

This morning, I lost sight of the dog for a moment. Concerned that he’d find trouble, or I would in the event I'd misplaced him, I began to move swiftly to the edge of the deck that spanned the cottage. I heard my toes crack against the wood before I registered what happened. I shrieked in pain and saw black for a moment. Andrea ran outside and observed my middle toe pointing in a northeasterly direction. Ice was applied but did little to provide relief. First full day of vacation and wham! It's ironic what the universe will do to ensure you show down. Senator John McCain died last night at the age of 81. He'd had a short but valiant battle against brain cancer. I didn't agree with everything the senator did in his long and storied career but I respected him. He was a decent human being. This morning, Stephen King tweeted: John McCain's finest moment (for me) came in 2008, when a woman at a rally referred to Obama as an Arab. "No, ma'am," McCain replied. "He's a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with." That's manning up. In fact, McCain asked both Obama and Bush (the younger of the two) to eulogize him.  This morning, I read these words by Senator McCain himself and wept. The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it,’ spoke my hero, Robert Jordan, in [Ernest Hemingway’s] ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls.‘ And I do, too. I hate to leave it. But I don’t have a complaint. Not one. It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make a peace. I’ve lived very well and I’ve been deprived of all comforts. I’ve been as lonely as a person can be and I‘ve enjoyed the company of heroes. I’ve suffered the deepest despair and experienced the highest exultation. I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times... What an ingrate I would be to curse the fate that concludes the blessed life I’ve led. I prefer to give thanks for those blessings, and my love to the people who blessed me with theirs. The bell tolls for me. I knew it would. So I tried, as best I could, to stay a ‘part of the main.‘ I hope those who mourn my passing, and even those who don’t, will celebrate as I celebrate a happy life lived in imperfect service to a country made of ideals, whose continued service is the hope of the world. And I wish all of you great adventures, good company, and lives as lucky as mine.” What beautiful words. A life well lived.  We should all aspire to live our lives in such a way that at the end of it, we feel similar to McCain. Yesterday morning, someone I follow on Instagram posted about a Oprah’s podcast with Ainslie MacLeod. Mr. MacLeod is a psychic (of sorts) who wrote a book called The Instruction. In the podcast, Oprah seems skeptical but clearly her skepticism didn't do any harm to Mr. MacLeod whose book is now on backorder on Amazon (of course, the Kindle option is ready to go). MacLeod has written about 10 soul types and you can take a quiz on his website to learn which soul type you are - so I, of course, had Andrea and I take the quiz and listen to the podcast during our 5 hour trip to northern Maine. It turns out that Andrea’s soul type is that of creator & mine, like Oprah’s, is spiritualist. During the podcast, Oprah remarked that she lived her life with a feeling of urgency, a compulsion to cram everything in. I can completely understand that sentiment, for me, I felt that feeling bloom and expand after I exited my starter marriage in the fall of 2007. My friend Jeanette had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and I realized that I didn't have time to waste in a relationship that had run its course.

It can be challenging for me to slow down. I want the great adventures and the good company. I want to experience it all.  Recently, while in a meeting at work, I remarked that I’d been in the Army. A colleague exclaimed that she hadn't known that and another said, “Yeah. Maggie's lived an interesting life.” I agree, but I'm partial like that. I'm not ready for the bell to toll for me (is anyone ever truly ready for that?) so I'll urgently press onward, in spite of my janky, sore toe.

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