Litany

ocean_litany

litany

1. a prayer consisting of a series of invocations and supplications by the leader with alternate responses by the congregation
2a. a resonant or repetitive chant
b. a usually lengthy recitation or enumeration
c. a sizable series or set

 

“You can sleep when your dead.” Everyone knows that phrase.

That’s what Paul used to say and that’s how he used to live. He was all about living life at 180 miles per hour.

“Work hard. Play harder.” That’s another phrase that kept him pulling early mornings and late nights, subsisting off of about four hours of sleep each night and coffee. Early mornings in the gym before work. Late nights in the office before heading back to the gym for one more workout. Then heading head home to crunch a few more numbers and rest.

His coworkers called him “the machine.” Paul took that as a compliment of highest praise.

Everything was routine. And everything was working, until he got a message from his doctor after his last routine visit. Dr. Chen’s tone was different somehow. It was a little too high, a little too strained–far from the jovial, warmth that usually flooded his words about Paul’s exceptional cholesterol and low percentage of body fat. While the rest of Dr. C’s patients were falling prey to sedentary lifestyles and sugar consumption, Paul was the star patient.

He laughed at the irony of it all. Why had he worked so hard just to end up here, in this place between life and death?

There had been a litany of tests and there were still no solid results.

However, there were a few educated guesses and input from specialists, but Paul realized that these highly regarded professionals were all just practicing the medicine they’d been taught–nothing was certain, nothing was sure.  He was 27, could possibly die, based on his last two rounds of lab work, and no one knew anything.

And instead of waiting around frustrated, angry, feeling fine except for the panic gripping his throat at the thought of dropping dead, he did what he hadn’t done in years. Paul sent a short message to his boss, requesting the vacation time he never touched, never thought about, and had always overlooked. With a few clicks, he booked a flight to Fiji–because that seemed like a good place for a dying man to go for about a month–and left the next day.

He left behind all of his favorite phrases, his workout gear, and his rigorous schedule and headed out of town to rest and just be himself, free from expectations and worry.

Somewhere far above the earth, Paul decided to sleep and laugh and enjoy the simple things of life before he died–because that seemed like the smartest thing for a dying man to do–and that’s exactly what he did without one single regret.

 

 

*This post was inspired by Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day, because they updated their their webpage first.

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