Out of the Blue
Out of the Blue
It is Tuesday morning and I am at my desk reading a poem in a bulletin printed by another congregation of the Lord’s church. Before I get to the end – and I am not sure I ever made it – my concentration is interrupted by one of those thought explosions that rocks your world, blows you away, causes you to rethink your whole philosophy of life and makes you stop what you are doing to be humbled, challenged and left breathless.
The poem pondered how the author would spend her time, if she knew she had only one more day, week or year to live. That alone is not a novel question – singers have sung about it, authors have written about it, preachers have asked it and many an individual has pondered it, when faced with his own mortality. We often think, if I had only such-n-such amount of time I would take more chances, love deeper, be a better spouse, parent, friend or Christian, I would change how I use my time, the way I talk, the way a think, etc. The thought that took away my breath was this:
If having a specific hour, day, week or year set for my life to end would cause me to live differently, then I obviously am not doing it right!
Knowing when I will die should not make any difference! If I am living right, death by surprise, or by appointment, should not require any changes. Why should a “death sentence” by a doctor (for example) make any difference? I mean, I already know I am going to die. I already should be living, as if I am dying, BECAUSE I AM DYING! If finding out I have a terminal disease makes me change how I spend my time, I have not been spending it wisely. If knowing the time of my death makes me change the way I talk, walk or think, then my talk, walk and thought process are flawed. If seeing a date for my death on the calendar makes me become a better spouse, parent, friend or Christian, then I must not be very good at those things. DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND, I know a doctor’s sentence beginning, “I have some bad news…” adds a sense of urgency to life, but am I not supposed to be living with a sense of urgency anyway? I mean, if he gives me a month to live, does that guarantee a month? NO! I might have a heart attack on the way home or get hit by a stray pomegranate, after leaving his office, and never make it home.
As these things were racing through my mind, two other “earth-shattering” questions came to mind. If it takes a “death sentence” to make me change, am I really sincere in those changes? Maybe – Maybe not.
Even if I am sincere, what would happen if I outlived my sentence? What if he was wrong? What if I get well, or go into remission or he misread my tests? If I outlive my month, or year, do the changes “stick”, or do I drift pack into my old habits?
One final question: If knowing I had one more day would make me change, why not go ahead and change? If I go ahead and change now, I can enjoy the change and the blessings that accompany it, whether I have one day or 10,000 days left. Besides, if I have only one more day, but do not know it, at least I will be ready.