The closer I get to death, the more I want to live. It’s as if I know there are a certain number of miles left on my feet so I MUST keep moving them in hopes of squeezing in even more. I dance down the aisles of the supermarket. Sing at full volume with the radio. Breathe in every flower in my path and lean out the window to smell honeysuckle at the drive thru Starbucks. Nothing must get past me—not even a stranger. I meet someone new EVERY day. Everything makes me cry, even the death of someone else’s puppy. Everything makes me laugh because I don’t know when I will experience it again. I can barely sleep at night because what might I miss in the dark?
But as punch drunk as I am about Life, Putin’s death march has been sobering. It’s not easy to find and hold joy as you watch a sick, psychopath wield his tiny saber and conduct a killing spree. His cold, tight-lipped stare says it all. There is no child he won’t slaughter, no city he can’t rubble and for what? More land? He’s already poisoned what he has with treachery and bodies. In his wake, there is only twisted metal, burning buildings and blood. It was one thing for Hitler to get away with his butchery in a world safe from the glare of a TV camera or iPhone. But now? We are all witnesses. How much destruction and how many will be buried before he is stopped?
A friend gave me this stone last week and it’s not just any rock. It is a Shiva Lingam stone found in only one place at only one time of year: at the Narmada River in India. Centuries of erosion have made it smooth and cylindrical. It is said that it came from the debris field of a meteorite which crashed into Earth some 14 million years ago. I crashed into Earth the exact, same year that Putin did. While I want to wring every second out of every breath, he wants to wring every breath out of every second. You can’t squeeze water from a stone, any more than you can negotiate with a serial killer. If I were David, I’d put my stone in a slingshot, take Goliath down and be glad of it.