I wrote two sentences of notes down during Alex's funeral and memorial services on Saturday. This is what they say:
1. Choose to follow your heart to do what is right.
2. Choose good over evil.
This was Alex's fathers plea to us as he spoke at the memorial service. I really don't think that I will ever forget these two pieces of advice and wisdom. Alex always did both of those things, and for us earthly survivor's, it should be the pattern of how we choose to live each day.
When I was 8, I found a $5 bill on the floor of a Target. I was so, so happy, but as I went to pick it up, something inside of me told me to leave it there. $5 could have bought me some new pogs, or scratch and sniff stickers, but I knew that I had to leave it. I tried to fight what my heart was telling me to do, and go with my head that was screaming TAKE IT! but my heart won, like it usually does, and I let it be. By the time I found my friends mom back in line, there was a lady talking to her who was holding a $5 bill. Oh no. The lady is ratting me out. She could tell that I wanted the money and is telling on me. I got really nervous, but when I got there I realized that it was the opposite. The lady had dropped her $5, saw me leave it, and now wanted to pass it on to me because of my good actions. That is one of the first times where I can remember feeling really, really proud of myself. I listened to my heart, and in the end, I won what I initially wanted anyways.
I think that a lot of times we give up what our heart is trying to guide us to do because its hard, and because the reward isn't always immediate. Sometimes theres no tangible reward or measurement of success at all. When we chose short cuts or a path that we know we're not supposed to be on, we lose. We lose on knowing our full potential as a human being, we lose on what takes patience to find, and we lose our moral character in the search of finding things that satisfy our natural man. This past year as I've tried my best to follow my heart, I've never been happier. I hope my desire for that never changes.
Everyday we have choices of good or evil. Some are loud, and are easy to chose. Don't kill. Don't steal. Don't do crazy things. Those are easy for us (most of us) to choose not to do. It's not the megaphone evils that get us. I call them megaphone evils because their grossness is so loud...you get the picture. Its the evils that we don't even think of as necessarily evil that wrap us up. It's gossip, bullying, not holding our end of a bargain, small lies, ignorance, being too busy to help, getting caught up in what we have and what we dont, or not reaching out to our neighbor that bring in small evils every day.
Life is so short. So fragile. I think of Alex who's life was cut short, but how he's outlived some people who are in their 60s because of the way he allowed his heart to guide him his whole life. That he learned and experienced a deeper level of what life is all about than people who have outlived him for decades. True living happens when we do what we know is right, experience goodness that can't be found in false places, and have the courage to listen to the small voice in our heart that guides us to safer harbors.
Choose to follow your heart. Choose good over evil. And choose today to truly live. I think we owe it to those who's opportunity to do the same were cut short because of their lives being ended too soon.