Tammy Helfrich

Life begins right where you are.

Living or Dying?

“My deepest belief is that to live as if we’re dying can set us free.”  Anne Lamott

Thinking about things like this quote used to scare me. Why would I want to think about dying? I’m too young for that.

Does this quote evoke an emotion in you?

Photo credit: Creative Commons (Mell P)

If you’ve been fortunate and have not lost many people close to you, this concept may be hard to understand. Or if you watched someone who knew they were dying give up and stop living, their example may not have shown you this.

I’ve been touched by death more times than someone should in my short time on earth. I lost my Dad at an early age, as well as childhood friends, friends’ parents, family members and friends. None of them have been easy. Not that we would expect it to be, but I used to think if people are older, death will be easier. It’s not. It never feels right, no matter the circumstances.

As I read the quote from Anne, my mind immediately went to the most recent and beautiful example I’ve seen, my friend Jamie. You will be hearing more about her in the months  to come, as we continue to celebrate her legacy. She showed me what it means to truly live. She refused to be defined by her illness. She refused to be sidelined by her diagnosis. She chose to celebrate every day. She chose to see the good in the world. To stop trying to be someone she wasn’t. To enjoy the little moments. To fully live each day as if it were her last.

“If you are still breathing, there are still embers burning in your soul.”

Ken Davis

For most of us, this is a big shift in our mindset. We worry about so many things. We spend our lives trying to keep up with people who could care less what we do. We hold grudges. We get caught up in our own lives and don’t see the hurting people around us. We grow numb.

I don’t know about you, but I lived that way for a long time. I didn’t appreciate that each day is a gift. Each breath is a gift. Our children are a gift. Our jobs and families and friends are gifts. Do we think of them that way?

I’ll be honest. I wrote this post a few weeks ago, and this past week I have not been feeling or acting like each day is a gift. This was a reminder to me too. We will all face difficulties. We will all have rough days. Or weeks, or months or years. But, although we can’t control what happens to us, we can control our response.

I am continually learning to choose to live differently now. I choose to enjoy each day. I choose to live with patience and savour the gifts I’ve been given. Once we do that, everything changes. Little things don’t bother you as much. Life becomes about something bigger than yourself.

What is your choice today?


  1. I agree. Every moment we have is a gift. I try very hard to live that, but it’s not always easy.

  2. I hear you. My grandfather was hit by a car a few years ago and recovery was just a nightmare. Eventually he chose to go home to God instead of fighting. I’ve always struggled with that.. what if he could have made it? But I feel like he was so happy with his life.. like he had seized the day all his life and now it was time to go. I hope that I’m that content at the end of my life too.

    p.s. Looks like we’re fans of the same authors: Love Anne Lamott, Jeff Goins, and Jon Acuff!

    Lindsey @ GrowingKidsMinistry.com

  3. I’m really cherishing every moment and trying to soak every minute of our precious lives. However, i havent lost many people in my life and I’m scared for when that happens. I hope and pray that I dont become numb…. and still enjoy life to the fullest.

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