We've all heard someone tell us, "Give it your best shot!" or, "Give it your best!" likely many times in our lives. Common phrase. Simple as such. "It" represents whatever the conversation is about. Whatever the specific moments invites.
I was watching a movie the other night on the life of Ayn Rand. Because I have such a ridiculously-poor memory, I can't remember if it was a phrase near the end or part of a closing song as they ran the credits....Whatever it was, there was a line where the woman stated that, "Love is not to be kept. It is to be given away." I loved that.
I'm going to suggest that most of the best is given in a lifetime, not taken. Love, effort, praise, forgiveness, intimacy, trust, respect, hugs, recipes, advice, traditions....
Perhaps it is not a question of how important the things we give. But perhaps, more importantly, is the designation of the "it". It is the recipient of all of your best. What is the target? Where are you aiming?
What is your it?
I believe that, at the end of our lives, those who know us will know, too, what our "it" was. Our legacy, the things we affected, the people we touched...Our chapters will reveal what we chose. What we prioritized. What we gave our best to, whatever our best was then.
Maybe the most important thing to remember throughout our lives is to check the "it". Reassess the "it". Refresh the "it".
If we look back ten years, twenty, maybe...We can see what the "it" was. We can see, sometimes with sheepish regret, what we made our priority. The recipient of our best shot, our best effort.
I think that some of life's most difficult moments are when the "it" changes without our consent. Without our choice. Without our blessing.
Our lives are the story of what we designated the "it". After brain injury, too often we have to redefine our "it" because our whole blueprint has had coffee spilled on it. Someone knocked the half-done puzzle onto the floor. Pieces everywhere.
For those of us who have suffered traumatic brain injury, it may seem cruel of me to ask us for more. We have lost a lot, after all. There is so much missing now, for sure.
But the livers of lives have the opportunity to meet the demands of those we prioritize. Those we seek. Those we love.
What we must understand now is that the "it" can be anything we choose it to be, as long as "it" is not the life that no longer exists.
Most of us can give away things that brain trauma cannot touch, cannot damage, cannot take: We can give love. We can give hope. We can give praise. We can give effort. We can give compassion. We can give forgiveness. We can give advice. We can give time.
What else is there, really?
It's up to us to choose now what the "it" is. What the "its" are. They may not be what we chose of them before we were hurt. In many cases, that is a good thing. But, if we choose carefully and thoughtfully, there is not a brain injury that is powerful enough to hold us.
What is your "it"? To what now will you choose to give your best shot?
We can give everything to regret, to anger, to bitterness. We can give everything to people who no longer exist in our lives, to jobs we no longer hold. We can give all of our best to a life that no longer lives as it did. And, in that case, we are cheating the one that breathes now, waiting.
What is your "it"?