Last Wednesday morning I received an uplifting email from Jane Castle, Chair of the E-Racing the Blues walk with a special thanks to Kelli and I for leading Team Giggle On.
Kelli Karlton, Laurie McArthur, Mike Castle, Jane Castle & Christa Scalies, October 25, 2009, Wilmington, Delaware at the E-Racing the Blues Event
Kelli and I attended a team captains luncheon on November 13th and learned Team Giggle On had the most registered participants – 74 in all! We beat Jane Castle by one person! My work here is done *giggle*. Thank you!
Timing is Everything
In addition to her thanks, Jane also forwarded a list called “45 Lessons Life Taught Me“. I breezed through the e-mail quickly, marked it as “unread”, as I often to when I am busy, and planned to come back to it later that day.
When I finally sat down to read the 45 Lessons on Thursday, the day after I learned about the death of Jim Ed Sims, Jr. I was struck by the significance and timing of the message.
Shock and Awe
I wish I were a better wordsmith. Wish I could describe the feelings of shock and heart-wrenching confusion learning that the man who inspired the name “Giggle On” is now dead too. Another suicide. When I first heard the news I thought it was a sick joke. Just 3 days prior to his passing I helped lead a team to raise awareness about mental health and suicide. What cruel irony!
Messages to Comfort: Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.
45 Lessons Life Taught Me was written by Regina Brett. Thanks Jane…this list brought my confused self great comfort. I marked the lessons I liked most in bold. What lessons resonate with you?
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.
Several hours after receiving the 45 Lessons and several hours before learning the news of Jim #2’s death (Jim Sims) my neighbor dropped off a copy of the book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. I thought it was a nice gesture, a little odd perhaps since I never spoke of spiritual matters with this man before, but I accepted the book and thanked him for dropping it off.
It wasn’t until late Thursday evening I thought about the timing of receiving the book. I cannot help but think Jim #2 (or even Jim #1 aka Jim Thompson) worked some magic behind the scenes to get this book to me in advance of hearing the news. There are no coincidences.
Reading the forward by the Dalai Lama Friday night provided me with spiritual comfort and inspiration. I intend on spending a lot of time with this book in the days and weeks to come.
“Naturally, most of us would like to die a peaceful death, but it is also clear that we cannot hope to die peacefully if our lives have been full of violence, or if our minds have mostly been agitated by emotions like anger, attachment or fear. So, if we wish to die well, we must learn how to live well: Hoping for a peaceful death, we must cultivate peace in our mind, and in our way of life.”
Living Well, Cultivating Peace & Giggling On…this is my message!
I want to end this post with a portion of How to Help Suicidal People written by in October 2008. This is directed to survivors…specifically any of Jim Sims‘ friends but please note the Jim I refer to in the post is Jim Thompson from this day forward also known as Jim #1 (and no, I can’t believe I have to delineate the important men in my life like this – pinch me, am I really awake?).
Live well and laugh everyday
I am a very spiritual person. I believe Jim’s spirit is alive and well. It is my belief that your friend or loved one is alive and well too, in spirit. They are probably looking over your shoulder right now as you read this.
They are whispering in your ear, speaking to your heart and saying, “I love you. Please forgive me for causing you pain. I am ok. Please live well and laugh everyday.”
Souls who passed by way of suicide do not want us to suffer for one more nanosecond about their death. Mark my words on that!
In my opinion, they want us live life to the fullest, laugh heartily and spread messages of hope to others. Giggle On!