It is a hot July afternoon and Lou Bookman, a 69 year old salesman, is peddling his wares on a busy city street. Unbeknownst to him, Lou is being watched by Mr. Death. Upon arriving home for the day, Lou finds Mr. Death in his apartment and begins to question him as to who he is, why he is in his apartment, and what he wants. Mr. Death explains that he is here to notify Lou of his “departure time” which will be midnight that very day. Lou is taken aback at this notion, believing that he is healthy and that he still has much more of his life to live. Lou begins to tell Mr. Death that there are several things he has yet to accomplish and one of those things is making the pitch of a lifetime. Lou believes that if he is able to make a pitch like none other, he will accept his departure time when it comes.
Mr. Death and Lou are in the middle of discussing their agreement when outside the window, a car’s tires screech and a scream can be heard. Lou and Mr. Death rush outside to see what has happened and Lou finds a little girl from the neighborhood, a little girl that he sees and speaks to frequently, has been hit by a car. With Mr. Death looking on, Lou tries to renegotiate his deal with Mr. Death, explaining that if he will allow the little girl to live, Lou will go with Mr. Death now. Mr. Death explains that he has to take someone by midnight tonight, and since Lou has yet to make the “pitch of a lifetime”, the little girl will have to take his place.
As the afternoon passes into evening, Lou decides he will wait for Mr. Death in front of the little girl’s apartment, hoping to convince him to take Lou instead of the little girl. Shortly before midnight, Mr. Death comes to the little girl’s apartment ready to take his next victim but instead finds Lou and his wares. With Mr. Death’s decision already made, this is Lou’s moment to shine, his moment to make the “pitch of a lifetime.” Lou begins to take item by item out of his briefcase and show them to Mr. Death. With each passing item, Mr. Death becomes more and more inthralled in what Lou is selling, so much so, when the clock strikes midnight, Mr. Death misses his opportunity to take the little girl. Lou showcases to Mr. Death, the last item for sale, himself. Lou realizes that the “pitch of a lifetime” has been made, the little girl has been spared, and he is ready to go. Mr. Death congratulates Lou on achieving his dream of making a pitch of a lifetime and the two walk off together.
The lesson here is fairly clear, in a world of uncertainty the one sure thing we can count on is that death will come for all of us and for most of us it will be unexpected. We do not live in the Twilight Zone and we are not afforded the benefit of knowing when death will come, but when it does, will you be ready? By ready I mean will you have a life to look back on and be proud of what you have accomplished, be content with the relationships you have built, and pleased with the legacy you have created?
So many of us live life day to day, just going through the motions of getting up, going to work, coming home, and doing it all over again. We stay connected with people via social media or text and live life through the lens of our televisions, computers, and cell phones rarely looking up to see the real life that is out there. We stay to ourselves and don’t reach out to our community to make a difference or find something outside of ourselves to invest our time and energy into believing others will take on that responsibility for us.
What if your departure time was tonight at midnight? How would you have wished you lived your life differently? Would you have focused more on your relationships? Would you look back wishing you had spent more time with your family and loved ones? Would you think about all the time you wasted focusing on people and things that didn’t matter and not focusing on the ones that did? Would you feel accomplished in your career, feeling that the work you had done was a reflection of who you are and what you were meant to be or would you feel like your career was just something you had to do to pay the bills? Did you make an impact on your community? Was the world a better place because you were a part of it? Would you look back on your dreams and they remained just that, dreams or would they have become a reality? What would you do differently if you knew Mr. Death was coming for you?
We know that Mr. Death is coming, but we still have time to change our focus on leaving behind a life that we are proud of and happy to claim as our own. How can you start making changes today that make you feel that you have lived each day to the fullest and regardless of when Mr. Death is to show up, you are ready, leaving no dreams unfulfilled, no relationships unnourished, no words unspoken, and no chance not taken.
I recently read on a friend’s Facebook post that stated the following:
“Masterpiece: Treat your life like a masterpiece. Know that you get to decide how you paint every inch of your canvas-the color, the texture, the size, the light, everything. It really is all up to you . Don’t be afraid to try new things or add new designs because that’s what your canvas is for. Use bold colors, paint over mistakes, start over whenever you want. This is your life and your masterpiece, create one you love.” – Walk the Earth
I believe that we need to see our lives as a work of art, a masterpiece that we get to create, adapt, change, and shape. We all have a canvas to showcase our life story, what will yours look like and how do you want to be remembered after your departure date?