Death is romantic by Erlend Schei |

Do you have a morning song?--the 'jam' that you feed your ears before you start your day? The musical mantra that fuels up every snooze-loving muscle in your body?

It started out as 'just a song' that played along with the other songs I have in my playlist. Then I heard it again and again...and again, until that part of the brain that deals with music and probably deep thought lit up and told me that I better pay closer attention to what the song is trying to say.

Thus began my search. Nothing fancy. Just Google, really (because technology is amazing like that!).

Then I came to understand that the song speaks exquisitely of DEATH.

And how wonderful is Ms. Bareilles' mind for being able to capture such thought--often unspoken about for the gloominess it evokes---put it in writing, and make it completely 'okay' to sing about it? 

Breathtakingly wonderful, if I do say so myself.

Yes, death. My morning mantra sings about death. The brevity of life, and how everything is temporary.

This song has not meant more to me than the past few weeks and months, when most people I know have passed away. I have never pondered about death as deeply as I did these past months, and starting specifically in July, when dad Roval passed on. It is beautifully sad that we have to have these experiences to understand the shortness of life.

In listening to "Chasing the Sun," I am reminded everyday to begin the day with purpose, and to remember that today may be my last.

Sara calls the tombstones in a cemetery in New York "3 million stunning reminders," and calls the space we are "sitting in" a "graveyard shelf."

Each one of us is just waiting to be part of the ground.

"My earth is somebody's ceiling."

Embracing this thought in mind--accepting that everything comes to an end--she reminds me to be grateful for everyday. Cliche as it may sound, everyday IS a gift. Every waking moment is a moment to be cherished. And we need not look farther than the ground (the dead), and listen to "the echo of heartbeats from the ground below our feet" to remind us of this truth, and to move us to LIVE.

"And the gift of my heartbeat sounds like a symphony, played by a cemetery in the center of Queens."

Her message becomes more and more meaningful every day that I listen to it. It almost sounds as if she's desperate for every living person to UNDERSTAND this Carpe Diem message. I can understand this desperation, especially when I see people wasting their lives away...running after things that will mean nothing anymore after death, instead of pursuing a life of purpose. We fall into a collective phase, much like after seeing films like "Dead Poets Society," of telling ourselves that we will seize the day. After a while, we succumb again to our lazy ways and forget Professor Keating's words as quickly as we did write the words "Seize the Day" on a notebook.

This is why I listen to this song every morning. To remember to live. To remember to embrace this blessed unrest that we have all been given. To say "I love you" and be kind and generous with our time and talents. To remember to pursue the truly important things in life---those that are not material but will leave a lasting impact on others once we have left our shelves. To serve the world. 

God has given us this life, and, yes, He will take it again from us someday. 

"All we can do is try, and live like we're still alive."

We are in a world split between the dead and the living. Let's choose to be alive. While we are here, let us begin our days with purpose. So that when the day comes that we have to say goodbye to this world, we will be ready and content and peaceful. 

I believe this is the same message our loved ones in heaven would have wanted us to embrace, too. That we remember to always purposefully listen to the gift of our heartbeat as we march on.

Remember that life is not meant to be wasted.

(Listen to the song here.)



Coming home.


SERVE LIFE FORWARD: Travel meaningfully, Live joyfully.