Man, the Lights Are Bright
Everyone, at some time in their life, will do the dance with death. There will be young dancers, and other dancers will be old. Age isn’t relevant. However, we will ultimately be out danced by death sooner or later.
I have written about dancing with death many times. Fortunately, I was able to lead death on the dance floor twice in the past decade. While doing the dance isn’t something I would wish to redo, I wouldn’t delete either dance from my dance card of life. Both dances changed me once I realized that I had done the dances. I understood the changes in me after I watched Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. Then all the pieces of my puzzle of life came together. It was like seeing the light…an intense light.
Now, to be honest with you, I have debated several friends about the transformation, which occurred in the way I viewed life. I am far more driven because of the dances. The general response from my listeners is that they are glad that I was a successful dancer but questioned how it really changed me. This was especially true when I’d mention that they will change also. They don’t want to dance, but it is beneficial.
Initially, I recited the long list of other successful dancers: Randy Pausch, Steve Jobs, Miguel Cervantes, Kurt Vonnegut, Oliver Sachs, John Donne, Alan Seeger, John Kennedy, Steve Biko, Carl Sagan, Abraham Lincoln, David Hume, Saul Alinsky, Henry David Thoreau, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Alexander the Great, Tom Brokaw, etc. Nonetheless, I haven’t convinced my friends. It is like preaching to the choir, but the choir is in some other church. The choir doesn’t get it.
Recently, I got into one of my one-way discussions with another Doubting Thomas. It should be noted the term, Doubting Thomas. This person responded that he didn’t want to do a dance. However, he could grasp what I was saying…kind of. To bridge the divide between knowing and truly KNOWING, I searched my mind for a parallel that could be a teaching moment.
Then it dawned on me. I told my friend this story, which happened to me a half dozen years ago. I had gone to my eye doctor that I had seen for years. He was checking my eyes for a new prescription for my glasses. Then he added that, by next year, I will need to have my cataracts removed. That surprised me. I could see with my glasses. I didn’t get the need to have my cataracts removed.
Nonetheless, the following year, I had my cataracts removed. Man, what a difference I experienced. I could truly see. I went back to the surgeon for a follow-up and was asked about how I felt. My response was that I needed to wear sunglasses on cloudy days.
I continued to explain the differences that I was experiencing. Even at night while driving, the oncoming lights of cars were extremely bright. Even street lights were bright. In addition, I saw bright halos around any form of light at night.
The surgeon said that my eyes had gotten used to cloudiness of the cataracts over nearly seven decades. Then she added that it would be about a year before my eyes adapted to any bright light. While my eyes have adjusted to the new reality, I still am a little sensitive to bright light.
Additionally, the bright light phenomenon sheds a great deal of light on the after effects of the way dancers view life after their successful dances. It radically changes one’s Weltanschauung. Now, you won’t be able to always lead death on life’s dance floor. Nevertheless, live life to the fullest as long as you can.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.
Visit the The Last Lecture page to read more about this topic.
Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Best and Worst of Times page to read more about this topic.