Friday, July 1, 2011

The Last Day

What would you do differently today if you knew today was your last day? Lately, each time I set my iPod to shuffle, the Nickelback song off to the right never fails to be one of the randomly selected songs out of around 200 on a list.   I've always liked it, but the frequent rate at which I've been coincidentally coming across it recently has caused me to question just that - if today was my last day, would I be happy with how I spent it?  Would you?  I imagine living in such freedom from worry, hurt, anger, and resentment.  I imagine holding my loved ones close, and I imagine doing the very things that in this moment make me feel frightened by their mere thought.  I would love more, and hurt less.  I would laugh until I hurt, and I would step out in faith for all the things I believe in, but feel too scared to act on.  I would throw caution to the wind and live fully in each moment of each day. I would let nothing stand in my way from that which I believe in deeply.  Most importantly, I would love.  Do you know what you would do if you knew tomorrow wouldn't come?

I wonder how it is we can get life so right when we're faced with the loss of it, yet on a daily basis take for granted the very things we would cherish the most if we knew our time was almost over.  This has been a week of indescribable sadness for me, but more importantly for so many whom I love.  My husband's father passed away last Saturday, a close friend of my mom's last week, and on Monday my college friend's toddler son passed away (see entry titled, Never Alone), but it didn't stop there.  Also on Monday, the greatly loved dad of another dear friend left this world after a merciless heart attack, and my best friend in the world has been told that she's possibly in the process of miscarrying the child she so desperately sought for so terribly long.  I have at times this week been paralyzed by grief, but also moved in disdainful awe over how much we carelessly take for granted.  I don't want to wake up tomorrow and know that I didn't do today what I will tomorrow wish I had.  More importantly, I don't want tomorrow to arrive without me taking the opportunity today to let those I love know just how much I do, so if you're out there and I haven't told you - I love you.

Even though the Bible is clear in it's description of the length of our life (James 4:14), we don't seem to fully grasp just how short it really is until we're faced with the death of someone we love.  I wonder why we can't get this without having to first experience the devastation and sometimes destruction from loss. Is it really so hard to wake up each morning and live as though the given day is the last?  Some may see this as an unhealthy approach to life, but I wonder how the aforementioned survivors of those lost would feel.  It seems that when you're in the wreckage of realization over life's absent guarantees for time, you finally understand the element of preciousness and fragility concerning each day.  Life isn't a guarantee; it's a gift, yet we treat it as though it's garbage when we spout hatred at our enemies and fill our minds and bodies with pollution.  We take for granted those who love us the most, and we act as though we're entitled to harbor unforgiveness, anger, and hurt when someone treats us unjustly.  What an utter waste of precious time.

Don't wait for tomorrow to let those you love know, and don't plan on waiting five years before you take that vacation. You may not be here then.  If you are frightened over trying something new, abandon your fears and give it a go. It may be what leads you into another day.  If you've been hurt by someone you love, accept that you may not forget, but choose to forgive and move forward.  How hurt by them would you feel if they died tomorrow?  Your hurt would then be inflicted by your own hand for not forgiving them when you had the chance.  Forgive people their wrongs and you'll be forgiven yours.  Don't spend another minute judging someone for something you would never do.  Your own judgment is coming, so focus on keeping yourself on the right track. Don't punish people when they hurt you; love them even more.  When you leave this world, you're going to one of two places, so choose wisely today who you'll serve, and if you claim to serve no one or nothing, you're mistaken; we're all serving someone or something.  If you don't believe there's a God, that doesn't change the fact that there really is.  He's the one who gave you life and He's ultimately in control of when your life ends.  You may as well spend your time here getting to know Him.  He's truly amazing and loves you more than you can even fathom.  (John 3:16).  Live in the moments of each day because we're not guaranteed a tomorrow.  Make your moments beautiful, amazing, and full of love.  If you don't know how to live in the moment, talk to a mother who lost her child.  Talk to a child who lost his parent. Talk to a widow.  You don't just decide to live in the moment.  You have to learn to live in the moment, and equally importantly you have to choose to live in the moment.  Let today be your greatest day.  Don't live in such a way that finds your tomorrow full of regret.  Choose to take nothing for granted, and live like it were your last day!  

Today is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it! Psalm 118:24


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