What if you should die before you wake up tomorrow? | Sunday Observer

What if you should die before you wake up tomorrow?

When I was a 10-year old boy, each night as I went to sleep, a voice inside me asked, “What if you die before you wake up tomorrow.” I was not scared but curious to find out why this question was asked every night. It took 35 years to find the answer.

However, each night I slept well and woke up with the sun filtering through the windows, the amazing bird songs coming from the garden, the fragrance of coffee and the voices of my parents at ease with each other. All seemed to welcome me to the celebration of another cheerful day.

Our home was the very centre of my life, not death - of waking, not sleeping. We had only little money but we had almost everything else. In particular, we had the glowing vitality of mother who encouraged us to spend time with nature and enjoy and appreciate every bit of it.She seemed to turn in every direction, holding out her hands for life’s free treasures.

Those unique memories had not crossed my mind for decades. Then, some years ago, I was in hospital in the midst of a life-threatening illness when one evening I found myself asking inwardly,“what if I die before waking up next morning.”

Suddenly, I realized that what was troubling me in my young days was not so much the thought of dying - but of dying before I have fully awakened from the slumber of my life.

I understood the message: “Wake up and live, for time is dying.” That day, I promised myself passionately that never again would I take a moment of life for granted.

In that flash of illumination, I thought how profound the word “waking” is. The dictionary says, “to awaken” means not only “to be roused from sleep,” but also to bring into action something previously dormant.” In short, it is to be born again into life.


The adult, like the child, should rise from sleep with a spring in his heart, but rarely does. Suppose you counted how many hours there were in the past week when you moved about like a child, searching for the beauty of nature, touching, listening, witnessing, as though morning had just dawned on the earth for the first time. How many would there be?

True, it is easier when we are children. Everything was possible and life seemed to last forever. Maybe, we cannot go back to those magical wide-awake moments of childhood. But, we have journeys of our own to take, and the joy of the adult,when it comes, rises from deeper reasons than the child’s. It is conditioned by stronger, more touching experience,

Out of nowhere, these waking moments come like blessings - moments when, like children, we become segments of one circle, responding to life totally. It’s like going back to the child in us but going back with a deeper understanding. Just to have been born in this world, to have lived at all, how wonderful that is! And, with all its defects, the world around us is, indeed, lovely and worthy of our gratitude.

Gratitude is an emotion that’s worth cultivating as it will make your life better. You can start simply, by thinking of five things in your day to day life that you’re grateful for. There’s no doubt, we all want to be happy, have good relationships, and good health. The only thing you need to do to create more of these good things in your life, is to cultivate the gratitude within you.


Instead, we just drift along dazed and confused like dreamers, only half-alive. Then, there comes a day when the shortness of time is upon us like seeing a dark end.

What we hoped to do with our lives has not been done; the things we wanted to say have not been said; the people to whom we wanted to express our love have never received it; the wrongs we have done have not been made up for; the talents we have, have not been used.

Is that what you want to look like? I am sure it’s not.

How shall we come out of the dream while we still have time?

Stop shutting out the light: Ask yourself why you are running away from life. Is it just to save yourself from effort - from the true waking which challenges, enlightens and stimulates? No one can help feeling fear, but try to cut down the number of times you act on it. Reach out for life’s experiences.

Accept who we are, imperfect but unique: Don’t waste a lifetime waiting for the perfect life when there’s a perfectly good one right in front of your mirror.

Once you realize that since the beginning of time there’s never been anyone like you, that the world will never again be touched by that very voice which is yours, these views, this special tenderness, this particular insight, you will not want to spend your life following others.

Look for the glimpse of your true self: Spend time alone. Identity is found in silence and solitude. Risk fulfilling what you really are.

Return to the wonder of the child: That is the most important thing in an adult life. Seek the occasions and seize the day, as a child does.

Rise before dawn and see the miracle of the world all over again. And, at night, see moonlight in the empty streets. Watch how the wind plays with the leaves on your backyard trees.

Realize how nice your family is and how nice your friends and colleagues are. Remember how an unknown stranger helped when you lost your way in France.

Such relationships give meaning and purpose to our existence in this world.

Sooner or later, that long night will eventually come. On that night, if you have spent your life relishing the gifts of your amazing life, you can joyfully say your final words - “I have lived my life to the fullest.”