This is a life-affirming blog post, one to come back to whenever you can’t remember what it feels like to enjoy the simple miracle of being alive. These are just some of the countless reasons to stay alive. Things to look forward to and cherish, as a way of holding the lantern when you’ve dropped it — or when a friend has forgotten their light and lost their hope.
In case you hope to find a set of complete thoughts here, I’d like you to know now that this blog post is not that sort of thing.
There is hope here, but it doesn’t lie in polished thoughts or all-encompassing truths. These are personal examples, reasons to stay alive that I’ve discovered through everyday living, and therein lies the real hope: in the little things we experience in a lifetime on earth.
I’m not sure a single blog post can hold all the grace that’s available to us. I am, however, hopeful that in this list, extracted from my own life experience thus far, that you’ll find reflections of yourself and notions that apply to your life.
Of course, we are different, but this is something I believe (something that carries me through the valleys of depression): we are not so different, after all.
This happens to be one side-effect of reading: realizing deeply that there are others who understand, others who have suffered and stayed to find words for the wordless experiences in life, words that unite and heal.
That’s how I feel when I read one of my favorite quotes:
“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” — Agatha Christie
Depression can coexist with overwhelming awe and even reverence for the mystery and miracle of life, though when we find ourselves in a pit of despair, that second bit might not be so readily available. It’s that second bit, however, that, like a ray of light beaming into a chasm, keeps giving me something to crawl toward, something to crawl with.
This idea urged me to write up a list, even if it could never be complete, that stood like a lighthouse or shone like a single ray of moonlight, when all other lights went out.
May this list be a reminder for you, for me, for us, that there is hope, and sometimes it lies in the smallest of things.
Some Reasons to Stay Alive
I stay because I need to feel the warmth of summer on my skin another time. I stay for the lush feeling of hope that is spring and also the shades of colorful leaf, the scents and crisp aliveness that only autumn can bring.
I stay because I love to walk on the grass with my bare feet, knowing I’m connected to Mother Earth and that she holds me.
I stay to watch the sun rise and set and rise again.
I stay to watch the animals, to touch the bark of old and patient trees, to feel my hair blow just a little in the breeze, to walk slowly through wooded paths, and to see how the sun glistens perfectly across the surface of the sea.
“If and when I find myself at rock bottom, I will make my peace there. I will look for my initials in the granite. I will find the footholds I carved the last time I fought my way out.” – Sharleigh Thomson
I stay to see what’s on the other side of this feeling because each time I’ve been down here in the depths, I’ve found my way out one way or another.
I stay because I need to see how much better I can write and love just by being honest.
I stay because I cannot measure or begin to assume how many hearts I’ve touched or will touch through my own existence, service, and willingness to keep going.
I stay because the universe longs to experience itself through me. I am meant to be here.
“You’re beautiful because you know your own darkness and still, that alone doesn’t stop you from finding your own light.” — R.M. Drake
I stay because just to be alive, here as I am on earth for a lifetime with other souls to share this with, is a grand thing.
I stay because my brother and my father still want to see what I can do.
I stay because I have stories to tell, stories to listen to, stories to write with friends and family and people I haven’t even met yet.
“I refused to leave before the miracle happened.” — Catherine Just
I stay for the way I feel when I’m swimming, floating, supported by the water and kissed by the sun and untouched by everything else.
I stay for the tears that come from laughter with my friends.
I stay for the moments of freedom: the blissful, long moments when the snow falls on my skin and I turn my face to the mysterious sky and somehow know that all is well with my soul.
“And most of all, I stay for the reasons that I have yet to discover, knowing that I move closer to them with every breath.” – Catherine Calabrese
What’s one reason you can think of to stay: to stay alive, to stay hopeful, to stay curious, to stay open, to stay and explore? (you can pick something from this list)
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I’d love to know!
Pass along the love to anyone you know who could use a ray of light or who is a ray of light: share this post, with love.
P.P.S. May I suggest getting out a piece of paper and writing your own list when the sun is shining in your heart, so you have something to lean on in harder times?