Thursday, January 17, 2013

Defying the Precipice

Life is a gift. It's often difficult and messy and challenging, and we have to work hard to enjoy the best of what it has to offer. In fact, sometimes we have to fight for it.

We live on the edge. There's a push and pull to our lives. All of us are potentially a breath away from a terrible accident, a debilitating illness, a horrifying loss. Oddly, we're mostly able to live our lives as if the precipice does not exist. When we see someone near us go over the edge, it's shocking. The sudden death of a contemporary rocks our foundation. The end of a marriage that seemed so solid to outsiders shakes us to the core. The mental breakdown of someone we love confounds us and breaks our hearts.

So we make permanent camp on dangerous ground. We sing, and dance, and love, and enjoy the view. We light campfires and contemplate the beauty. We sleep in peace. When one of us gets too close to danger, we try to calmly talk them back to safer ground. When another scrabbles for footing on the edge, we band together to provide steadying hands. Mostly, the village binds us together and provides security.

Every once in a while, a lost soul is drawn to the abyss against all reason, as if mesmerized by the vertigo it causes - as if something there calls to them. Inexplicably, but predictably, they eventually take a purposeful leap into the nothingness. We'll never understand why. There is nothing we can do to stop them. It's a horrible, horrible thing to witness.

I'm in the group who defies the precipice. I'll bravely party here where we live, but regularly sneak a peek over my shoulder to check my coordinates. I won't follow anyone who feels compelled to actually flirt with the abyss. I'll fight tooth and nail for the happy life I have and the well-being of the people I love. I want to stay around and thrill in the spectacular view. Take a look, but watch your footing. Be safe, and enjoy the gift of Life.

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