Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted…Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it.” 1 Peter 4: 7, 8 (The Message)
Lynda’s visit to the doctor ten days ago revealed the onset of pneumonia. Then she had some minor surgery. She’s doing better, and the hope is that with a bit more rest now that the busy and wonderful holiday season is behind us, she will continue to improve.
My latest visit to the doctor of a few weeks before that gave no indication of any problem or concern. The usual blood tests were on the good side of the normal range. My doctor—a great guy—couldn’t put his professionally trained finger on any particular problem, but as I sat there talking with him that day it hit me once again that I was dying.
It was a bit unnerving to say the least. And I need your prayers.
I may have six months to live, or less. I may have a year, or more. But whatever time is left, I now know that it’s not forever. My Bride, Lynda, and I don’t talk about it, but I know we have both thought about it at times, especially in the forty-fourth year of our marriage. I suspect some of you—if you’re really honest with yourselves—have been in the same place with your own thoughts and lives.
So here’s how I would like for you to pray for me today.
In the words of a song by country and western singer, Tim McGraw, pray that in the time I have left on this earth, I would—“Live like I am dying.” They are words he wrote and sang to his dad. Words he hoped his dad would have wanted to have said to him. His dad was major league baseball pitcher Tug McGraw, and Tim never really got to know him when, until very late in life when they discovered that his dad had less than a year to live.
Listen to those song words with me, which Tim wrote as if sung by a dad who finally realized all that he missed in life and in moments missed with his son and others:
“I was in my early forties, with a lot of life before me,
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime”—
And I asked him—‘When did it sink in that this might really be the real end,
Man what did you do?’
He said—‘I finally became the husband that most of the time I wasn’t, and—
I became a friend—a friend would like to have,
I finally read the Good Book—and took a good, long, hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again, and then—
I went sky diving, I went Rocky Mountain climbing,
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu,
And I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter,
And I gave the forgiveness I’d been denying.
And then he said—‘Someday I hope you get the chance,
To live like you are dying.’”
It was a sobering moment for me at during that visit to the doctor a few weeks ago. To realize that I’m dying. But the truth is that I am dying. I always have been. We all are. And we have no assurances as to when we will take that last breath here on earth. Today, tomorrow, sometime later. As for me, there is nothing pointing to anything that is specifically wrong. I may have six months to live, or less; perhaps a year, perhaps more.
I just don’t know.
And you don’t know either.
But what we do know is that we’re not getting any younger. We know we don’t have forever in this life, and the moments which we have and we too often let pass us by, won’t usually circle back around for a second chance. Despite our good intentions, our best efforts, and varied accomplishments to this point, there are still things we’ve always wanted to do, and many more we should have done long ago—still waiting to be done.
There are people I should have forgiven long ago, who remain un-forgiven. There are people from whom I should seek forgiveness, still waiting to be asked. Lives I should love and touch which are still unloved and untouched. There are adventures to begin, mountains to climb, bulls to ride, books to read, careers to strike out on, family and friends to cherish—still not done and still looming before me in the days I have left before I step into eternity.
I suspect there are some of you reading this who would say you wouldn’t do anything differently if you knew a time certain when your life on earth would end.
Because I suspect, even you would notice in those last days—that your food tasted sweeter, the breezes seemed softer, the woman you love seems more beautiful and precious, your husband is much better and more patient than you ever gave him credit for, the children you raised and those you’ve adopted as in-laws, don’t disappoint or mess up decisions near as much as you used to think they did. And of course, as you already knew, your grandchildren really do have halos around their precious heads; and real friends remain friends, often in spite of us.
So today, please pray for me that I will—“Live the rest of my life—like I am dying.”
And I’ll pray for you as you sky dive, get ready to ride that bull named “Fu Manchu” or begin, finally, to do all those other things you need to do, and to cherish all those people you need to cherish—as if your life depended on it.
Have a great time—living the rest of your life.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2012. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.