“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” ― Catherine of Siena
Be Who You Were Created to Be & You’ll Set The World On Fire
This week life has taught me uncountable lessons; from personal and professional highs to personal challenges and the sad news of the death of a very dear family friend.
I grew up next door to a larger than life character who was in the Navy for much of my early childhood. Memories of joining him and his family on a big, scary Naval ship on a families’ day when I was young and being totally enamoured by stories he and his wife would tell of their travelling and time living in Hong Kong.
He always spoke his mind, was himself unapologetically and strode his way through life with humour and gravitas. He was a loyal husband, a much-loved dad and a superb granddad.
At times he very much felt like a second dad to me; often offering himself up as a taxi service to and from airports when I was off on my travels or university trips with a car load of boxes, and no boyfriend I introduced to him was ever good enough! He made me feel loved, worthy and like I could go, do be anything I wanted to.
The day he died I went for a long walk along the beach and found myself wanting to get as high as possible. I climbed up on top of the sand dunes and sat with nothing but the sky above me, the beach and ocean below me and I said my goodbye.
I thanked him for caring and for loving me, I thanked him for always saying it how it was and for always being there to support me even though, some years, I’d only see him for our annual visit for breakfast on Christmas morning.
I looked up to the beautiful blue sky, the infinite, the unknown and found myself thinking ‘I am just a person, sat here on a big old planet that is spinning around in space, I am alive, I am breathing; how fortunate am I’.
I looked back down to the beach to see all the people going about their business and thought why don’t we let ourselves be happy.
We Get One Life, One Experience on This Planet
Our happiness is created inside of our own minds, yet we forget we have that power within us and become consumed by an unending list of mental chatter about worry, fear, lack of self-love. We so often mistakenly think we will find happiness outside of ourselves, that it is somehow materially or physically attainable.
I thought of Steve; larger than life, loyal, go-getter, bombastic Steve. Steve who wasn’t afraid of anything. Steve who would say exactly what he thought – even if it were deemed inappropriate! Steve who would do anything for his family, friends and the people he loved. Steve who lived his life to the fullest, despite life-altering physical challenges towards the end.
I made a promise to him, sat there on the sand dunes; That there were three things I will try and remember, qualities that he embodied:
- To really Live; To not be afraid of anything. To walk boldly towards life. To know you can achieve anything and you deserve to.
- To be yourself, with pride. Be guided by your morals, always. To speak your mind, because it’s your truth.
- Don’t take life too seriously. When life treats you hard, find the humour in its complexities. This life is here to be enjoyed and savoured.
He was loved and will sorely be missed by many; all of whom, I’m sure, will feel as fortunate as I am to have known him.
Thank you, Steve, you really did set this world alight!
Written in loving memory of Lt Steven Bridges, 1946 – 2016.