GROVE CITY —
What if you knew that you were doing to die today? What if this morning, when you set your feet upon the floor as you got out of bed, the first thing you learned for that day was that it would be your last?
What would you do with your day?
What would be your first thought in learning such a thing? Would you call your wife or your husband? Would you hug and kiss your kids? Would you load up your car and head out to that place you’ve always said you wanted to go, or drive to the airport and fly off to that destination you’ve always wanted to see?
Maybe you’d be content to just rest in your last hours, holding the hand of the one you love, or listening to some relaxing music. Maybe you’d pull out all the photographs from over the years and reminisce about the many experiences and memories you’ve had.
Perhaps, though, you’d be frozen in fear, frightened of the unknown and regretful of the many mistakes, many times you’ve made the wrong choices or done the wrong things. Maybe you’d be scared of what comes next.
Is there an afterlife? Is there accountability? Will I have to stand in judgment for the way I’ve lived my life? Will there really be a God when my time here is through?
Human beings have this way of moving around on planet Earth with the ability to block out their mortality. We go about our business, our pleasure, seeking the experiential more than the spiritual. We’ve been conditioned not to think of our demise, our physical death. We’ve been taught that death is unimaginable and something we don’t want to become acquainted with--the unthinkable. We busy ourselves with the living and find ways to remind ourselves that we are, indeed, alive and doing well.
Yet, death is inevitable. It comes for every one of us. We enter the world, dying from day one. We watch as our bodies grow old and decay, lose their youthfulness and new appearance, and, one day, give out. Still, we walk around in denial, soaking up every chance we get to feel new and young and vibrant again.
Who doesn’t like the feeling of being “new”? We cuddle our newborn babies, celebrating their entrance into our lives as though they will always stay pink and soft and small. We revel over newfound love, losing ourselves in the beginnings of infatuation and the chemistry we create when connected to someone of the opposite sex. We long to acquire new things all the time--new cars, new homes, new clothes, new experiences. Often, we trade in those things we have when they become old to us. We want the new again. We’ve come so far as to even trade in for new people!
There’s the saying, “Out with the old and in with the new!” We aren’t new, though--none of us. We’re all getting older, growing more and more “un-new,” and, in fact, dying.
I remember my mother telling me once, “Lisa, you don’t have to live your life like every day is your last.” I’m not sure what she was referring to at the time, but she did say I had a way of always being conscious of the fact that my time was brief.
In some ways, I’ve lived that way and I’ve made decisions in my life with that awareness; time here is brief. As I grew and began to lose people that I love, that awareness became even keener to me, and I’ve reflected on my mother’s words many times, even as she, herself, passed on not too long ago.
But now I wonder, what if we did live every day as if it were our last? What would we do differently? How would we live differently? Is that really such a bad thing? Is there a way of living like our time is precious without losing our sense of adventure, our vibrancy for this gift we’ve been given?
My brother and mother both were people that knew their time was cut short. While they didn’t know the exact day their lives would end, they no longer had the luxury, as so many of us do, of walking around with our invisible blinders. They knew. Each of them responded to this knowledge differently, but each of them ultimately chose to take the time they had and walk the path of faith in God, rather than go it alone.
Each of them was surrounded by love. They had their families there with them, comforting them and soothing their fears. Yet both of them chose to place their faith, their essence, with Jesus Christ. Neither of them was a saint. Neither of them led the perfect life. Yet each of them knew that there was mercy and forgiveness; there was comfort and peace, in the father.
If you knew today would be your last day on Earth, what would you reflect on? Would you look more closely at your actions in this life? Would you assess your behaviors, your attitudes? Would you acknowledge your sins before God and tell him how sorry you are? Or would you step blindly into infinitude?
Would you continue, if you knew you had only 24 more hours, to cheat on your spouse, steal from your employer, abuse your kids, lie to your parents? Would you apologize for that wrong-doing, make amends with your brother, forgive your wayward son or daughter? Above all, would you fall on your face before your creator and beg for his mercy? Would you finally admit his presence and your dependence on him as your savior?
In Jeremiah, we are told that “the heart is deceitful above all things.” We are all guilty, we are all sinners, and we will all die. But Jesus Christ tells us that, in him, we can find rest, we can find forgiveness, and we can find eternity with the father. He tells us that only in him are all things made new again (Rev. 21:5).
Every single thing on this earth will pass away. Every tree, every blade of grass, every living beingÉ even you! Only in him can we be truly renewed.
God bless and have a great week!
Lisa K. Alessio is a lifelong writer and resident of Grove City. She writes on life, faith and family for Allied News. Reach her at alongthe firstname.lastname@example.org.