This semester – my final one at Murray State University – I am taking a course called The Literature and Archaeology of Death. We literally come to class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and talk about dying, dead people and cemeteries. A real funfest, I know, right?
This week we studied a scene from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in which the protagonist gives the following speech concerning skeletons in a graveyard:
“Why may not that be the skull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddities now, his quillities, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? Why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel and will not tell him of his action of battery? Hum! This fellow might be in ’s time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers, his recoveries. Is this the fine of his fines and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt? Will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will hardly lie in this box, and must the inheritor himself have no more, ha?”
While this class may not be the most uplifting start to my day, there is a positive side to it. Time and time again I am forced to face my mortality and each time that happens, I must answer the question “What am I doing here?”
It’s a big question, and oftentimes not one to which it’s easy to give an honest response. Let’s see.. Today I.. well there was Neflix.. napping.. more Netflix..
Actually today has been a pretty productive day: class, class, class, lunch, bank, cleaning, homework, dinner, work.
But really, what of that is truly going to matter in the grand scheme?
Here I am, three months from graduation, and I find myself thinking back to this time freshman year and feeling like it was yesterday.
Kenny Chesney put it like this:
Just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your better half
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you’re praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don’t blink.”
As the once wide gap between my present and my future rapidly disappears, I find myself questioning whether I can really make it out there alone in this cold, cruel world.
There’s no denying that the world is a pretty crazy place and it’s easy to start to feel overwhelmed, but what if we didn’t have to face it on our own?
In one of my other courses, we’ve spent some time talking about the ideas of self-sufficiency and dependency and have come to the conclusion that none of us are truly self-sufficient but rather are dependent on others for at least some aspects of our existence. This led us to a discussion of helping one another and how often and with what attitudes we actually do so. We realized that, for the most part, we felt that we needed an excuse to help someone, rather than jumping at our every opportunity.
Maybe we could change that.
In high school, one of my teachers told our class about a movement called “Random Acts of Kindness.” Headed up by a foundation with the same name, Random Acts of Kindness encourages people to live with a greater awareness of the people around them and to use that awareness as a springboard for making someone’s day just a little bit better.
I think that’s what we’re about here at Voicebox Media too. We lend people an ear, and then a voice, because we want to see their lives improved.
Yes, it is cold and cruel out there, and to a certain degree it always will be. But as for me, I’m not going to let what I can’t control, hold me back from what I can.
So what am I doing here?
Well, I’ve decided I’m here for a reason. I can add some good to this warped world we live in. If I can impact one person, truly impact them, that impact could have ripple effects for years to come, even long after I’m gone. It may seem like a pipe dream, but imagine if everyone started living like this. Or even if half of the people out there did. I believe we could see a revolution.
There’s another important part to that song from earlier:
“I was glued to my TV and it looked like he looked at me and said
“Best start putting first things first.”
Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand
You can’t flip over and start again
Take every breath God gives you for what it’s worth.”
So now that you’ve heard from me and Kenny, what are you doing here?