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To All That Is Great in Us

“Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him—that is the best account of it that has been yet given. Squalor and tragedy can beckon to all that is great in us; and strengthen the wings of love.” ― E.M. Forster, Howards End

We are, each of us, on borrowed time. There’s no denying that, even as we prefer to focus on other things in our lives. The reminder, Memento mori, necessarily prods us to the urgency of action. It’s now or never.

We all, each of us, have greatness within us. There’s no denying the unique mix of billion year old carbon, energy and magic that came together to spit each of us out onto the dance for for our singular tango with life. We either draw upon that greatness or squander it in all the ways humans are great at squandering: procrastination, distraction, sloth, mis-directed prioritization, etc. We are the sum of what we put in to the time we have, divided by the forces that act upon us. We can’t control everything, but we can control some things.

I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I really have no idea how today will turn out, let alone the balance of my time on this planet. But I know I can influence certain outcomes with my full attention. Maybe that’s enough to tap into that evasive greatness. Surely I may get closer for having tried.

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