Driving Through The Neighborhood

by Sherry Riter in Hope,Self-Development  

“Love makes your soul crawl out
from its hiding place.”

~Zora Neale Hurston~

During some alone time this week, I drove around looking at Christmas lights. It was a little sad being alone, but with each home that slowly passed by my windows, I felt more relaxed and peaceful. For some reason, I thought about people who can’t see – people who are physically blind.

An unsighted person is not able to enjoy the beauty of the all the historic homes that I was casually driving through while enjoying the bright white and colorful lights and decorations. Of course, I always associate blindness with Helen Keller who once said,

“The only thing worse
than being blind
is having sight but no vision.”
~Helen Keller~

I’ve always had a vision and plenty of hope to carry me through to a successful completion of one goal after another. Do I often fail? Sure, but I also always get back up and try again and again and again.

The thing that bothered me on my scenic drive was that not only was I the only site seeing car, but I also did not see even one person in any of the yards or houses the entire thirty minutes I was in that neighborhood.

Were all the people hiding? Had it been such a tough year that everyone felt the need to be tucked safely within the haven of their homes?

“But the eyes are blind.
One must look with the heart…”

~Antoine de Saint-Exupery~

How often do we go through the motions in our daily lives and then at the end of the day, fall sound asleep without any further communication or thought? I remember the first time I heard Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like You Were Dying.” It pierced my soul with the realization that life is short and we only have one shot at getting it right. If we knew that we were dying, what would we do differently? Here are the words in case you’ve never heard the song…

He said: “I was in my early forties,
“With a lot of life before me,
“An’ a moment came that stopped me on a dime.
“I spent most of the next days,
“Looking at the x-rays,
“An’ talking ’bout the options an’ talkin’ ‘bout sweet time.”
I asked him when it sank in,
That this might really be the real end?
How’s it hit you when you get that kind of news?
Man whatcha do?

An’ he said: “I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
“I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
“And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
“And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”
An’ he said: “Some day, I hope you get the chance,
“To live like you were dyin’.”

He said “I was finally the husband,
“That most the time I wasn’t.
“An’ I became a friend a friend would like to have.
“And all of a sudden goin’ fishin’,
“Wasn’t such an imposition,
“And I went three times that year I lost my Dad.
“Well, I finally read the Good Book,
“And I took a good long hard look,
“At what I’d do if I could do it all again,
“And then:

“I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
“I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
“And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
“And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”
An’ he said: “Some day, I hope you get the chance,
“To live like you were dyin’.”

Like tomorrow was a gift,
And you got eternity,
To think about what you’d do with it.
An’ what did you do with it?
An’ what can I do with it?
An’ what would I do with it?

“Sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
“I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
“And then I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
“And I watched Blue Eagle as it was flyin’.”
An’ he said: “Some day, I hope you get the chance,
“To live like you were dyin’.”

“To live like you were dyin’.”
“To live like you were dyin’.”
“To live like you were dyin’.”
“To live like you were dyin’.”

So these beautifully decorated homes that date back to the early 1900’s sent a message of hope to my heart. People lived in those homes a hundred years ago and have long since died. They worked, learned, laughed and cried. But the lesson here to learn is that they have already passed away and now we are here…living, working, learning, laughing and crying.

With the new year right around the corner, have you taken the time to revisit last year, set goals for the new year and rejuvenated your spirit with hope for success and happiness?

I’ve determined that I can’t just ride around the neighborhood this year and hide safely behind the door. That’s basically what I’ve been doing as I’ve tried to heal, but I don’t want to miss out on the rest of my life.

Many people I’ve run into or know have been in a slump this holiday season. Well ya’ll (yeah, I am letting the Texan come out), the Christmas holiday is over. The year is almost over. All of our lost dreams of last year are over. The awful, sad and traumatic events have taken place and they are over.

You can do this.

I can do this.

We can do this.

We have awesome abilities, talents and strengths within each of us. Believe it. Don’t hide or blindly live one day after the other. With the ringing in of the new year, it is time to walk through the door into 2011 with your head held high and your soul full of hope.

Never let go of hope.
One day you will see that it
all has finally come together.
What you have always wished for
has finally come to be.
You will look back and laugh
at what has passed
and you will ask yourself…
‘How did I get through all of that?

The Redhead Riter


This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori December 30, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I 'CAN' do this! Thanks for the inspiration. Something has to change here and I am the only one who can make it happen.

This will be rewarding for my children too as we revisit 2010 and set goals.

Wishing you a wonderful 2011 packed full of all your dreams and hopes coming true.


2 bluecottonmemory December 30, 2010 at 8:01 pm

I love old houses. The green was my favorite! I, too, cannot wait to be done with 2010. It is amazing how much POW-BAM can be punched within one year. It was a year of overhwhelming darkness, blindly feeling my way through on hope and faith. Now,I feel hope building within me, roots of joy emerging, and that this next will be like sweet incense to my soul! May it be that way for you, too!


3 Melissa December 30, 2010 at 11:33 pm

What a sweet post… and by the way, what a beautiful neighborhood! 🙂


4 Jill December 31, 2010 at 3:02 am

wow! what a beautiful neighborhood!! I don't get the benefit of a lot of decorative houses in my area….too much theft and crime. that's an amazing song!! 😀 love me some country?


5 mo December 31, 2010 at 1:50 pm

What a beautiful post. I am your newest follower. Happy New Year new friend. *hugs*


6 Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog December 31, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Damn straight. We ARE all dying, whether people want to admit it or not. If a doctor came to you and said "I have some grave news. It looks as though you don't have long left. You'll never make it past 45 more years." Would that make an impression? To realize that our stages in life are pretty brief makes me try to pause and reflect and be happy with what is going on right now. I hope 2011 is wonderful for you. Happy New Year!


7 Tonya December 31, 2010 at 6:01 pm

always like to tae stock in what has happened and what the new year may bring. Thanks for the reminder.


8 Paula & Skip December 31, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Yes we can!


9 Mary January 1, 2011 at 12:20 am

What a thought provoking post. I loved reading it. It gave me the inspiration to live each moment and take notice of each moment – spend more time reflecting on each day, just thanking God for it, so when I really do die, I will have lived my life fully aware of the special gift it has been, not only to myself, but all those around me.


10 Tyla January 9, 2011 at 4:34 am

I have always enjoyed that Tim McGraw song and I love what Hellen Keller said. Thanks for sharing this.

PS I, too, have always loved driving around and looking at houses decorated for Christmas but sadly we did not dedicate a night to do just this during this past December. I regret that.


11 Patti Hanan January 13, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I also love the Tim McGraw song. It is good to be reminded that we have a limited time on this earth and we need to use our time for what has eternal value. I also love the Helen Keller quote. How important it is to have vision. Thanks for sharing the beautiful Christmas decorations. What a beautiful neighborhood!


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