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A graveyard can be a distinctively disarming place.

Surrounded by small momentos of lives once lived, there seems to be a lingering sense of prudence.  I think that’s why we are so quiet and hesitant when we visit graveyards. Yes, we miss our friends and our families desperately.  Yes, death is what keeps us from feeling their embrace and hearing their laughter again.

But the graveyard haunts us because it is a stark reminder that there is a finality to our lives.  There is an ending;  and at the end, a legacy which people will associate with us when our names are talked about once we’ve gone.   What really scares us about death is that, in the end, we will be defined more than we will be remembered.

Our greatest fear is that we will always be remembered for our weakest moments.

And so, in these living days we face, we proceed with caution.  We risk little, and stay inside the status quo.  We dream, only a little, but never too much.  We fit in, play the role, and embrace the normalcy of whatever surrounds us.  We are hesitant to invest too much, love too much, or try too much because it might all blow up in our face.

We make too much of mistakes.  We too easily let them become some definition of who we are.  They gnaw and chew and eat away at our soul just a little bit at a time, reminding us that we aren’t good enough, aren’t imaginative enough, aren’t experienced enough, aren’t hip enough, aren’t young enough, aren’t old enough to pull off whatever “it” is.

Our mistakes turn into graveyards built by regret where we bury our potential.

But there is a much better way.  Our mistakes don’t have to define or confine us.  They don’t have to become permanent memories of why we aren’t good enough.  Our mistakes can be tipping points;  catalytic moments that inspire us to become something different, someone better.

You can allow your mistakes to build a graveyard, or you can springboard from your mistakes to blaze a trail.

You’re better than your weakest moments.  Your struggles are worth fighting through, and they will not overtake you.  A failed moment will not be your legacy.  A ruined relationship, financial downfall, Friday night regret, or missed opportunity will not be the defining thing in your life.  Be brave enough to always remember your potential;  to always remember that you are valuable and worth something.  May you find that when you invest fully, love deeply, risk greatly, and imagine wildly great and surprising things are possible.

May you live today oblivious to regret and alive to potential.