What would you do … ?

I feel something so right
By doing the wrong thing
And I feel something so wrong
By doing the right thing
I could lie, could lie, could lie
Everything that kills me makes me feel alive —

OneRepublic/Counting Stars

What would you do if you knew you were going to die today?

It’s a question asked to elicit deep answers and remind us that life offers no guarantees but the present moment. The death of a loved one or a close call with your own mortality are often reasons to ask it.

But it’s been asked so much, the question has fast forwarded itself to the top of the lame line — right up there with “What would Jesus do?” — as one of the all-time lamest questions in the history of the question mark.

Like a person about to take the stand in their own defense to avoid the death sentence, your answers begin to sound like you’ve been coached by your attorney to say the things the jury wants to hear to increase the chance you’ll go free.

Old, but I’m not that old
Young, but I’m not that bold
I don’t think the world is sold
I’m just doing what we’re told

The deep thoughts you were seeking are lost as your heart retreats back into a part of yourself you show just enough of to get yourself off the hook.

“I’d write a book.  I’d quit my job.  I’d learn to play the piano.  I’d say ‘I love you’ more often.  Blah, blah, blah,” you respond.

At which point someone asks why you don’t do those things, you give a standard answer about responsibilities getting in the way and you comfortably return to your status quo, feeling a bit more at ease, but unsettled at the same time.

Unsettled because the opportunity of connecting with your life’s purpose — of touching eternity — was wasted because someone asked a lame question and you were too scared to go deeper and risk making anyone — including yourself — uncomfortable.

I see this life like a swinging vine
Swing my heart across the line
And my face is flashing signs
Seek it out and you shall find

And though you temporarily avoid the symbolic death sentence, as long as you refuse to ask the questions that matter, you’ll always be a prisoner of your own mortality.

To find whatever it is you’re seeking, you have to challenge yourself to ask the hard questions — the ones whose answers you can’t walk away from.  The ones that keep you up at night and kick you out of bed in the morning feeling refreshed and purposeful instead of depressed and exhausted.

Questions like, “Why do I feel something so right by doing the wrong thing?  Why do I feel something so wrong by doing the right thing?”

Would your perception of right and wrong change if you knew you were going to die today?

Would you cross the line of right and wrong if you knew you had only 24 hours to live?

Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard,
Said, no more counting dollars
We’ll be, we’ll be counting stars

Author: Barb Besteni

I've been in a writer long enough to know that change is not only inevitable, it's what keeps us going. Don't fight it, don't fear it. Embrace it and have fun.

2 thoughts on “What would you do … ?”

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