It’s All Worth Living For

By Levi MacallisterSeptember 13, 2017

On August 28, 2017, I asked a question:

“Would you send me a video you’ve taken that acts as a reminder for why life is worth living?”

In the days that followed, hundreds of people submitted their memories. Their reasons. Bits and pieces of life that attest to its beauty, and each person’s answer in the form of cell phone footage as captured in the moments that were worth it.

I know some of these people, but most, I don’t. Most of whom don’t know one another. And yet, collected in a folder like an umbrella and pieced together in a film as though each clip were absolutely integral to the next:


Every snippet a fraction of the whole whose common denominator is life. I watched every piece of its abundance in the simplest reminders for why it has been worth living:

“Dog at home.”

“Friends talking at sunset.”


“Brother swims after 9-month battle with cancer.”

“You may kiss the bride.”

“Wife holding newborn son.”

I couldn’t hold the tears back.

What was it, I wonder, that was so special about that particular road trip? The one where you filmed the trees passing by through a window smudged with fingerprints and morning dew?

What captured your heart during that specific walk around the neighborhood?

What was going on in your mind that made your lunch in the park so peaceful that day?

What were you laughing about with your mom?

How good was that latte in Houston this week? Was the warmth a dichotomy that filled up your heart while the rainwater filled up your home?

Watching all of these videos—piecing them together—I realized that the humblest reasons made for the most beautiful of them. I thought that it is easy for us to get caught up in comparisons and jealousies, wishing for the grandiose, despairing when the life we’re living doesn’t seem to measure up against the photos that stack up like taunts in our Instagram feed…

But there are no filters on these memories. Just you and the cat crawling on your face, or the sloppiest wedding kiss, or the clumsiest fall into the stream, or the sourest face undone, or the messiest hair unmade.

These unkempt pieces, arguably mundane, that have somehow made their way into our hearts as moments worth remembering.

I wonder what clips you’ll capture tomorrow?

This year?


There will be more like them. This from a person who didn’t believe that himself six months ago, etching anxiety into his identity like it was all he could be. But I’ve filmed some videos since then, and no matter what the future holds, I think I’ll film some more.

So will you. That future’s worth staying for. It will be painful at times and it will be bliss at times and some mornings you’ll be drinking Mad Cap or Verve and other mornings you’ll gulp down shit scorching your throat but it’s all worth it. The morning I started writing this poem, my friend—over a godawful cup in a local diner charging specialty prices looked at me and said, “Brother, I’m not gonna lie, the coffee here is horrible.”

I’ve been laughing about it since.

Staying means enduring the burnt pages in these stories, too. They’re all a part of it.

An expensive cup of gourmet garbage.

The conversation overshadowing it, infused with confusion and fear.

The night she left.

The night he left.

The joy of cancer in remission, and the fear that it might come back.

The fight that started halfway through the honeymoon and never quite ended, hanging over the marriage like a storm cloud.

I can’t tell you why, but I can tell you that I’d love to sit with you through it all over a cup of coffee—no matter how it tastes—or over a damn lemon and ginger wellness shot if that’s your thing. The people who have done the same for me have been miracles and hands and feet like a savior knew what he was doing when he gave us one another.

I want to stay for

Brandi and

Bree and

Chad and

my mom and

Greg and

Jonathan and

Caleb and

Craig and

Jamie and

the other Chad and

the dog videos he’s always retweeting and

Europe and

nieces and

nephews and

Dono and

Mark and

Brian and

Drew and

Justin and

Sam and

every single face I’ve seen at every single show and

the tre-flip I’m still working on

and Aaron and

Brittany and

every name I’ll feel bad for forgetting the moment this goes live and

Dan and

Kris and

the Christmas Tour and

my cat and

maybe some children and

maybe some of their children and

I want to learn how to roast coffee and

mix a better Old Fashioned and

see Canyon and

Elias and

Ethan grow up and

my friend’s and family’s marriages healed and

help my wife open a CrossFit gym and

see her dreams come true and

you and

tell you that none of us has any fathomable idea about what’s coming next but it’s coming and

it’s worth it and

there are dark nights and

pitch black ones inside of our souls sometimes and

I don’t think they will last forever but even while they do

these people are flashlights and

they’ve helped me see and

that’s all I’ve been praying for for years now and

they’re answers and

I pray for answers as people as flashlights in the night with a warm mug in hand for you today.

My grandfather used to pray a prayer over me: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

To you, reader, I close with a thank you. I want to say thank you for being a means of blessing and grace and peace to me. Thank you for being such a necessary part of the reason that I want to stay and find what I was made for. I can’t do it without you. We can’t do it without one another. Each of these pieces feels integral to the next because they are.

You are.

Stay. Find what you were made for.

Watch “It’s All Worth Living For” by Levi the Poet here.  Disclaimer: This video contains mature content, including images and verbal mentions of alcohol. Please use your discretion before viewing.

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Comments (10)

  1. Tanya Davidson

    I was at a candlelight vigual,for people who have lost someone by suicide.My best friend killed herself. It should have been me. What I couldn’t stand was people saying,reach out,we are here to help. No your not!Hospital personnel treat us like shit! We are a wast of their time.Don’t
    BS people that are hurting so bad,they want to die! Start with the fakes,the liers,not the ones who have holes in their souls!

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert


      We are heartbroken to hear of the loss of your friend. We wish she was still here. But we are grateful that you are still here. You are needed and wanted, even if it doesn’t feel that way.

      And yes, while some people may offer help and not follow through, please know that we are here. We will help in any way that we can. As will the counselors and professionals available to you through Crisis Text Line (text TWLOH to 741741) and the resources listed on our Find Help page:

      We hope you will email us at [email protected]. Our team would really like to learn more about your story and offer you some encouragement. It would be an honor.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  2. Jess

    Wow. This is incredible.
    Thank you Levi, thank you for this.

    Reply  |  
    1. Levi Macallister

      Thanks, Jess. 🙂

      Reply  |  
  3. Gravitas

    No one gets it. People keep trying to add an “up” note. There is no “up” in my life. I don’t get any of the good as balance. It’s ALL burnt pages. There are no bright bits anymore. It will be painful at times? It’s all painful. It will be bliss at times? Not for more than two decades it hasn’t. This dark is here to stay. Nothing –no thing– has been “worth it” in all that time. Everyone –every one– who has promised improvement (it gets better!!) has been blowing smoke.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      We wholeheartedly understand your hesitation in believing that it does get better, that there will be bright bits mixed in with the dark bits. It’s difficult to believe in people’s promises, in our hopes for light. But we do hope that you will reach out, share your journey with us, allow us to offer you some encouragement that we truly do believe in.

      Please email us at [email protected] if you would like to. We read and respond to every message we receive. Also, we do believe in utilizing professional help. A good place to start is our Find Help page here:

      You are not alone. We understand your struggles. Your emotions are completely valid, we are not dismissing that at all.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  4. Bernadett Bencsik

    I think I’ve just read one of the reasons life worth living. It was beautiful and really helpful now for me, I had a very hard year. Still I have to believe it’s worth it.
    Thank you. <3

    Reply  |  
  5. Jack Earlenbaugh

    I listened to this poem for the first time tonight. In tears I watched the video and then found this post. I met you at one of your shows in November.. you probably don’t remember it and that’s ok. I definitely froze up and didn’t know how to properly thank you for the things you say. They mean a lot. Thank you for giving me a reason to stay.

    Reply  |  
  6. Courtney

    This is literally everything.
    Thank you so much for your existence and openness and showing me a light at the end of the tunnel.
    I was just listening to SaidTheSky it’s all worth living for and then saw this!! 🥺👉👈
    It’s been very tough lately for a lot of us so thank you for your vulnerability to share. It is beautiful.

    Reply  |  
  7. Courtney

    Also thank you for working with TWLOHA and SaidTheSky as well.
    You are beautiful and your words live on in my heart.

    Reply  |  
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