make each day count
Sprint! You’re dying!

“RUN!! They’re right behind you!” This is what I would yell at the screen if you were starring in a zombie movie and zombies were behind you. You managed to avoid them the whole movie without any problem until this scene. This is the scene when you don’t see them, and you die. It’s only a movie relax.

We need warnings for the things we don’t see coming. Not just in zombie movies but in real life too.

Recently my inner self screamed a warning my way. “SPRINT! You’re dying!”

Wait, what? Where? When? Is there a zombie behind me!?!

Just like I was in a movie unaware of my impending death I heard a warning. I was thankful for the warning, but I needed an explanation. I mean death is nothing to joke about or make light of.

Here’s what I got in response.

You’re dying. You don’t have a disease. You weren’t given a diagnosis or life expectancy in terms of days or years, but you’re dying. We all are.

One day we will wake up for the last time. We will have seen our last sunrise. Witnessed our final sunset. Laughed for the very last time.

This warning got my attention. The next four mornings I woke up early just to see the sunrise.

We are running a marathon called life. It’s up to us to sprint as fast as we possibly can each and every day. Not so that we reach the finish line faster. So that we can get more out of every single day.

Maybe you’ve heard of a different approach when it comes to life. Slow down and smell the roses. But, that’s the point. I want to smell ALL the roses.

I don’t want to just smell the roses I may happen upon in this journey, I want to smell as many as possible. I want to smell the roses in Hawaii, Fiji, and Iowa. Iowa has roses right?

As kids, we took summer vacations covering the United States. We got maps that we could color each state we had visited. A way of viewing the 50 states and how many we’ve been to over time. My mom worked hard on her map. She really wanted to visit all 50 states. She was very persistent with any task she set out to complete.

My mom would always stop and smell the roses. She also sprinted. She ran as fast as she could. She would drive any distance to see her grandkids. Some trips were quick round trips because she had to make it back home for an event.

She got as much out of life as she possibly could before she passed away from cancer. Visiting with her in the hospital one day I wanted to make sure she got to do everything she wanted before she said goodbye to this world. I remembered the maps she had gotten us as kids.

“What states do you have left to visit Mom?” I asked. “Iowa,” she replied.

She thought of a few more states she hadn’t been to. Alaska, Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Ten in all. She made it to forty states.

“Let’s go, I’ll take you. I’ll take you to all the states you haven’t been to yet and we can mark them off.”

She was just too tired. She didn’t have the strength. “You go for me,” she said.

There comes a time that even when we’re dying we just can’t run anymore. Even when death is chasing us.

That’s why we need to run while we can. Don’t just run, sprint. You will cover more ground that way. And when you get to where you’re going, by all means, stop and slow down long enough to smell the roses. And when you’re done quickly sprint to the next spot.

Don’t save the bucket list items for later in life. We don’t know what kind of warning we may get concerning our own end is near.

But, you do know what today holds. An opportunity.

Sprint, you’re dying.

My Mom’s map.

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