Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying



“Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.” ~ Tim McGraw in Live Like You Were Dying

I love most music genres and like a lot of people, appreciate music in different ways depending on my emotions or my mood.

The sweetest music to me, though, is the song that no matter how many hundreds of times I’ve heard it, causes me to stop whatever I’m doing, turn it up and feel emotions coursing through me.

Goose bumps and choked tears

My Top 10 list of tunes contains songs like Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You and Mercy Me’s I Can Only Imagine.  Each causes my breath to hitch and my eyes to leak a bit.

There’s one song, though, that always makes time slow down as each word of the lyrics resonates through inevitable thoughts about the passage of time.

I thought of this song–Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying–a couple of days ago when I read on Facebook about a high school friend who attended a co-worker’s retirement party one day and the colleague dropped dead the next day.  My heart went out to Michael and I wrote this to him:  “We go from feeling invincible as teenagers to knowing that as middle-agers, each day is precious and rare.”

The words from Live Like You Were Dying pelted me again today as it played on the radio while I drove home from the grocery store.  The story, of course, is of a man talking about his experience of being in his early 40s and receiving, presumably, grim X-ray results.  He tells his adult son that he spent days trying to absorb the news, talking about his options, and “talking about sweet time.”

Man, what’d you do?

His son asked the most incredible question.  He said, Man, what did you do when you got the news?

The response is a composite of some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever read:

“I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,
“I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu.
“And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
“And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”
An’ he said: “Some day, I hope you get the chance,
“To live like you were dyin’.”

Tim’s song is written in memory of his dad, Major League Baseball relief pitcher Tug McGraw who died in 2004 after battling brain tumors for nearly 20 years.

I believe McGraw’s point–and the point of the song–is Why wait?  While I’m not looking to climb on a bull, especially one named Fu Man Chu, there are many, many things that I intend to do before I leave this earth.  Some–like strolling on a black sandy beach or watch an eagle as it’s flying–may have to wait but there are others I can do today, without a moment’s hesitation.

I can love deeper, speak sweeter and give forgiveness I haven’t wanted to give.  I can slow down, fill my lungs with air and breathe into all that is good about these precious moments in time.  Then I can thank God for one more glorious breath.

This post is dedicated to my friend Michael Barnes, to our former classmate Erik Zobrist (both HUGE baseball fans!) who died earlier this year, and to all of us who’ve known both the gut-wrenching loss of someone dear and the exquisite exhilaration of living like we’re dying. 

If you’d like to see the entire video, including the famous winning picture of Tug as a Philadelphia Philly, click Live Like You Were Dying.

Photo courtesy of orchid


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