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Nothing Is Worth More Than This Day

On the last day of August, 2009, we lost our friend John Morris.  He was 43 years old when he was electrocuted while working along the river that flowed behind his home in Austin, Texas.  His oldest son Jack was at his first day of kindergarten, his wife and twin boys in the house.

“Nothing is worth more than this day.” -Goethe

In the wake of his big life, he leaves a gaping hole reverberating with the echo of his favorite mantra: “Could die tomorrow.”  This is what he taught, this is what he lived.

In the spiritual scheme of things, it seems appropriate that he went up in a flame since in his very essence, he was a live wire, a spark that flew into people’s lives and ignited their spirits.

Growing up a fair-weather Catholic, I have never been convinced by religious dogma, though I am moved by the metaphors from the stories of all religions.  John’s death for me confirms the stories aiming to explain the everlasting nature of our spirits.  Though his body is no longer walking this earth, singing his song with a guitar strapped around his shoulder, the pulse of his life still beats in ours.

In his absence, he continues to teach powerful lessons.  He teaches me that life is about relationship, about laughing and loving this gift of life.  He teaches me that we have such a great power to have a rippling, positive affect on people’s lives.  He teaches me that Goethe was right: Nothing is worth more than this day.  The past is only useful when we are able to use its lessons to understand ourselves and our lives now.  The future is a dream of no certainty.  There is only today.  There is only now.

What really matters is not that I have an unsightly crease down the middle of my forehead or that I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.  What really matters is stopping along the bike path with Oliver to watch the turtle crawl to safety in the grass; holding hands while riding next to Paul on our cruiser bikes through Minneapolis; dancing to music with Oliver while he’s dressed up as a bat and Lucy is in her too-small Dora dress with a Christmas hat on her head; walking in the woods with my friend, talking about motherhood while noticing the sumac turning bright red as fall approaches; and folding the mounds of shirts, shorts, and underwear that we wear as we walk along our paths in this blessed and brief life together.

Janna Brayman Krawczyk is a writer and a teacher.  She has a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Masters in Teaching from Hamline University.  She has been writing in a journal for over half of her life and has finally accepted that life is not easy, yet our struggles and obstacles are what inspire insight and wisdom.  For this reason, she must write as a way to understand herself and her life, stay sane, and dream big dreams.  She feels blessed to share this healing and illuminating practice with as many people as possible in her lifetime…

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I try to take a moment every day to appreciate all the wonderful things I have in my life. Thank you (and John) for the reminder.

    Very early on in my teaching career, I taught a family who was dealing with a son who had leukemia and eventually died. I will never forgot the dad saying to me, “I would give anything to have one of my ‘regular’ days back. Cherish those days that seem boring.” I have thought of his words and family very often.

    Thank you for your lovely words and this useful vehicle to keep us thinking and humbled.

    PS I love the crease on your forehead. :-) Miss you.

  2. Wow, what a sad story…great posting. So sorry for his family, just heart-wrenching.
    Much of the reason I feel so grateful to be part time now. I try to not stress about my “to do” lists but enjoy what I get done and appreciate that when I don’t get it done it is because I’ve taken time out to live more fully.
    I have a crease too….Dermapril has been working on it :) I more hate that it makes it looked like I’ve worried a lot in life.


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