This fragment of the Berlin wall stands at the entrance of the Imperial War Museum in London and serves as a stark reminder to check our priorities. At least, to me it does whenever I return to that incredibly moving and emotionally intense museum.
Remember when I asked you guys a few weeks ago to name some of the museums that top your list? This one is at the head of mine and it's because I can't leave the building without a no-holds-barred reality check. It never fails that I end up sobbing quietly as I wind my way through one or more of the exhibits.
Back in 2006, it was "The Children's War" where the entire exhibition was dedicated to Britain's home front during World War II. I think I probably made it through the beginning of one letter that started "Dear Mummy, Are you still alive..."
And I just lost it.
I seriously could not imagine having to stay in a city that I knew would be bombed while I put my child or children on a train in order to send them to the country to live with strangers (but where they would be safer). Yes, we were in the war together, but to see it through another country's eyes? Sigh. It's powerful.
Also, this time, we went into the Holocaust Exhibition, as last time one of our family members was a bit too young for such a heavy and graphic subject matter. I believe we spent a good hour and half listening to the testimonials of the concentration camp survivors, watching the various clips, and looking at the photos and displays that filled rooms and rooms of the exhibition. Silence overcame everyone as we all took in part of rail car that had deported the prisoners to the camps, as well as the massive, clear wall display that was filled with shoes and other possessions of the murdered...
Let's just say I was emotional here too.
Oh, and I think it's interesting to note that the war museum has been housed inside the old Bethlem Royal Hospital, or Bedlam, ever since King George VI moved it there in 1936. Before that, it had been housed in South Kensington at the Crystal Palace from the time the museum opened in 1920.
So, this is a roundabout way of getting to my point today. (Now that I've depressed you, right?). If there's anything that I've learned over the past few months--and not just from this museum, of course--it's that LIFE IS TOO PRECIOUS TO WASTE. It's too damn short. As many of you know, my 23-year-old brother-in-law has been hit with not one but two incredibly scary and extremely rare diseases and he's got quite a battle ahead of him. But his strength blows me away, a true fighter! I'm so proud of him. And I only pray I'm the same if faced with the monsters he's up against. And throughout his treatments, he's making plans that will help him reach his dreams.
Therefore, here's my question to you: What are you doing to live your dream? Are you still reaching for it? Are you chasing them or living them? Do you have a "Just Go For It" attitude about life? A "What the Hell Do I Have to Lose By Trying?" attitude?
This doesn't have to be writing related; it could be about anything that you dream about doing, about learning, about wanting to achieve.
I have pretty much always had that mentality, especially when it comes to visiting places (as you know, I love to travel). But now more than ever, I'm not letting anything stop me from living my dreams.
Have you seen the Matt Harding video below? "Where The Hell Is Matt?" This guy has traveled around the world for the past three years and danced in front of some spectacular sites. But the best part is: The millions and millions of people who have been watching his progress and who now join in with him around the world. It's become so popular that Stride Gum has sponsored his travels. This guy lives his dream. It's a delightful, charming, heart-warming, and inspiring video and I hope you all enjoy it... But you may have seen it already with the millions and millions of other folks. :-)
Where The Hell Is Matt?
Monday, July 21, 2008
Posted by Michele at 10:05 PM