I got frustrated today. As I sat reading some troubling feedback I received from a colleague, I couldn’t help but feel my blood begin to boil. The comment was farce; a final attempt to fire a shot intending to limit my progress. As I sat, somewhat stunned, I couldn’t help but wonder why I didn’t spot this a mile away.
It’s not the first time either. It’s not the first time that I’ve felt the rug pull from underneath my feet while my head was high in the clouds. Each and every time I would become frustrated, not for being brought to my knees, but for my inability to see through the veil of deceit that cloaked the messenger.
“Am I that gullible?” I thought. “Am I such a bad judge of character?” As the shock wore off, thoughts of retribution ensued. I was now angry. I wanted him to pay. I wanted him to understand that he couldn’t just sprout lies and get away with it. I’d become toxic. My heart raced; my face grimaced as I pondered my sweet revenge. But then I heard it – that twinkling little song, echoing in my head –”Clouds.”
I stumbled unto “Clouds” about six weeks ago, while watching a touching documentary called Soul Pancake. “Clouds” is the heart wrenching goodbye letter written and sung by 17-year-old Zach Sobiech to his family and friends. The teen, whose life was cut short by bone cancer, channeled his feelings into the song, leaving a lasting memory of his life and legacy for his loved ones.
What resonates with me about “Clouds,” isn’t its simple lyrics about Zach going “up, up, up,” or wishing he had “a little bit more time,” but rather, the genuine sincerity of a boy, who instead of focusing on a fight for survival, decided to live out his life bringing hope and joy to all he encountered.
Despite being riddled with cancer in his pelvis and lung, Zach didn’t dive into pity parties, or depression. He didn’t dwell on his inability to marry his high school sweetheart, who he loved dearly, or focus on his inability to root for his kid sister, from the sidelines of her basketball game. Instead Zach chose to do something, many of us find hard to do, he chose to live. Zach lived everyday seizing opportunities, being proactive, and most of all, being positive.
Life isn’t easy. God knows I know that. Many times things don’t go our way. We are hurt and wronged by others, some of whom we trusted. At times it’s easy to frown, curse and fight for whatever right we think has been taken. But in the end, what do we really accomplish? Does retribution really bring peace? Does fighting and bickering and dwelling on the negatives offer any solace? I don’t think so – at least not any fleeting satisfaction.
If you ask me, in the end, all we really accomplish is wasteful age. Though time has passed, we are stuck, incapable of transitioning into our next rightful phase. Then we bicker; question why life is unfair; or why we could never find our way. What’s funny is that in all our questioning, we never truly stop to find the answer, just as we never truly stop to recognize the opportunities that have been there all along, lurking within the failures.
Life is short. When I think of Zach, I’m reminded even more of that. So in the end, when I face my hours of despair; when I’m battling dishonest colleagues and bouts of disappointments, I smile and remember the quirky words of that lingering song. I will close my eyes and tell myself, “it won’t be long now, it won’t be long now,” till I rise.
- Zach Sobiech’s ‘Clouds’ Reaches No. 1 On iTunes After His Death (hollywoodlife.com)
- Zach Sobiech: My Last Days #Inspirational (Video) (keepitbasement.com)
- Zach Sobiech’s Parents Reflect As His Stillwater Classmates Graduate (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- Clouds by Zach Sobiech…If you don’t know You Need To Know! (mix1065fm.cbslocal.com)