This has been one of those really hard posts to write.  I know in my head and my heart what I mean by “When I leave this world I want to be all used up”. The hard part has been trying to figure out a way to communicate that. I ended up with poetry more than prose.

From flickr user Lisa Edmonds

I sat next to the old man.  I marveled at his face. It was hard and worn with creases. The skin darkened and toughened through years of working in the sun and the wind. This is a lived face imprinted with the years of laughter and love, pain and loss.

His hands are worn, hard, and calloused. Years of hard work, years of life, have chiseled and formed those hands like water shapes the rocks.

He looks used, poured out, radiant, and magnificent. He looks like he has lived for 100 years. He looks like he has seen his children grow, his grandchildren grow, and his great-grandchildren grow.

I gazed at him and I realized that before I leave this world I want to be that. When I leave this world I want to be used up and poured out. It will be my time to go once I have emptied all of myself into this world.

We can often try to hide from life. Trying to keep ourselves within ourselves. Trying to keep our wineskins full. Trying to insulate ourselves from life. We hide within the mundane. We coat ourselves in the armor of indifference.  We fear true open life and love. We are often as likely to experience pain as joy from love, and that is all right.  That is part of the fabric of life. If you hide yourself from life you are still going to die. The world fills our lives with pain and loss. The world fills our lives with joy and beauty.

The world is real and stark and true and painful and glorious. It’s not just that all this stuff is inevitable so we just need to live with it.  This stuff is magnificent . It is the holy weave that makes up the tapestry of our lives. Life isn’t about being happy all the time. Life is about living.

When you pour yourself out into something meaningful family, art, hard work, the earth, you become whole