Yesterday I wrote about really living. Here is a story from 1999 where the idea first hit home to me:
It’s a little after 7:00 a.m. and I’m at the
airport on my way to Philly. I met an
interesting man this morning. As I was
walking towards the airport from the parking lot, a limo driver began walking
alongside me. He was dapper looking in a
dark suit and bow tie. I was lost in my
thoughts when I heard him ask a question.
“What was the last exciting day you had?”
Interesting question from a stranger before
I’ve even woken up. “I can’t
recall; it’s been a while,” I responded.
“You need to do something different
today. You know, a lot of people live,
but are they truly alive? They think
they’re free, but they never exercise their freedom. It’s like they’re asleep as life goes on
about them,” my philosopher friend went on.
“Well, I am going to inner city Philadelphia,” I
said, almost apologetically, “that should be exciting.”
About that time I saw that the train to my
gate was off to the left. I thanked him
for stimulating my thinking and said goodbye.
Cutting through the atrium, I noticed the people sleeping on chairs
pulled together, coats draped over them.
The man’s words echoed in my head.
I wondered how many people I know who truly are alive to the
possibilities all around them. How many
choose to do anything new or out of the ordinary in a given day? I wished that I had longer to talk to the
man. I went through the security check
and down the escalator.
As I was walking up to the train, I noticed
that he was standing there, waiting. He
smiled broadly at me.
“So you’re wondering how I got here
ahead of you, huh?” He asked.
“Yeah, I was thinking about you. I was wondering if you find your life
“My life IS exciting. I pick up a lot of folks in the entertainment
business. Many of them think that money
can buy them the stuff that they want, but money doesn’t do it for them.”
By now the train was leaving, and my stop
loomed ahead, but my friend was just picking up a head of steam.
“Folks need to breathe. People only take in 10% of the oxygen that
they have the capacity to breathe.
People need to LIVE.”
I never learned his name, but I shook his
hand and thanked him for his insights.
As I stepped on the next escalator I was
thinking, “Am I really living? Am I
breathing at my God-given capacity?”