Posts tagged Life
Recently, I was reflecting on life and its fragility. It is unnerving how quickly circumstances in one’s life can change. I see it all the time. One day things are going immeasurably well, and the next, a storm shipwrecks a life upon the rocks. I think it is extremely important that we examine our lives to refocus and find center periodically.
What will be important to us later in life? I think this is a good question to ask because it demands that we set priorities and hopefully live by them. I have heard many people wish they could correct course earlier in life. I have heard some spill out buckets of regrets they would love to have changed. Yet, there are some things I have never heard anyone say as they looked back across their life.
A list of things I have never heard anyone say:
- I wish I wouldn’t have wasted so much time spending hours with friends.
- So happy I consistently chose work over my kids.
- Glad we waited until our problems were out of control before we got help with our marriage.
- Why in the world did I spend every Sunday at church?
- Glad I held onto that grudge and never forgave so and so.
- Wish I would have spent more time watching television.
- Happy that I spent more energy doing things I enjoy than spending it with people I love.
- Sure do regret those Saturdays I stayed home with my family.
- So thankful I paid more attention to the temporal than the eternal.
- Glad I made a big deal out of the small stuff my kids did wrong.
- It is a good thing I never got involved in my church.
- So glad I kept people at an arm’s length.
- I wish I had never taken my wife on our dream vacation.
- So happy I lived my life for just me.
“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
What is something you have never heard someone say?
Last night, I finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy. I greatly enjoyed the books. They are highly entertaining stories that grip you from the beginning. As any good story does, they make you reflect about certain aspects of your own life. What I greatly enjoyed about the books is they directed my attention onto something we tend to avoiding thinking about: death.
Without revealing much about the stories, I will say they deeply explore death, grief, and its’ effects on individuals. We tend to avoid death much of the time. We skirt around the topic. We use flowery words to cover death’s harshness like “pass away”, “rest”, or “depart”. We deny it at times and live as though we might escape it, yet as scripture states “it is appointed unto men once to die.”
So, as I laid in bed last night closing the final page to the last book of the Hunger Games, I was forced to reckon with the fact that one day the final chapter of my own life will be closed. My story will be written in permanent ink and laid open for all to see. I was forced to think about who I am, who I love, and what I am doing for God.
Death is not a topic that I want to entertain on a daily basis, but it is something that we need to be cognizant of often. Why? Because, death keeps us focused on life. It centers us. It reminds us that we have a limited amount of time. It provides perspective on what is important. It demands that we not waste the amount of time we have been given, though some do.
The Bible reminds us in Pslam 90:12, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” In other words, remind us to live with the end in mind. Help us stay focused on the fact that today is a gift we should not squander. Prompt us to center our lives on what matters.
Let’s live with the end in mind. Let’s remember to tell those we hold dear that we love them daily. Let’s keep God in the center and serve with dizzying passion. Let’s give our families our precious time. Life goes by in a blink. Enjoy it. Value it. Live it full.
The good news is, for those of us in Christ, death is not the end.
“While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.”
-Leonardo Da Vinci
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed
Have you read the Hunger Games? I would love to hear your thoughts about how the books affected you!
Every day that marches forward, we are becoming something. What is it? What do you want to become? Who do you want to become? What do you want life to look like in the future? What would you like to accomplish? What do you need to change?
For some, it is an improved marriage, a better golf score, a closer relationship with Christ, a healthier lifestyle, or to handle finances better. For others it might be being a better parent, learning to play guitar, changing a bad habit, making more friends, or getting involved at church.
We are all becoming something. Every single day, we either get closer to who we want to be or further away. Time is a cruel mistress. It will chew up the “you” that you want to become and spit “you” out, before you ever actualize your dreams. Sometimes we think that we can remain stagnant, when in reality we are always heading in some direction. Our lives traipse onward, closer to realizing our dreams or saunter in the opposite direction.
There is often a vast disparity between what we tell ourselves we desire, and what we do to actually become what we want. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted writing to be an active part of my life. I hoped maybe one day to even publish something. I would tell myself, “one day, I am going to write.” It sounded great. Then last year it clicked. I want to write. I want to be better at writing. I want to share my thoughts with others. I want to share perspective. I would love to be published in some degree. What was I doing to move closer to this? Absolutely nothing, so I took a step. I started blogging. Then I took another step, I became consistent as to when I posted. I have plans to further this dream along in the future. Before, I was moving further away from my goal by allowing time to strip me of any meaningful progress, by allowing other good things to distract me, by not taking any steps to get closer to what I wanted.
It is really humorous, because we do this in so many different capacities. Permit me a few examples:
-I want to be closer to my spouse, so I will spend time with friends, on hobbies, and work.
-I want a closer relationship with Christ, so I will watch a movie instead of spending any time in prayer or reading my Bible.
-I want to be healthier, so I will take a cheese Coney and chili cheese tots please. Can you make that a large?
-I want to handle my finances better, so yea just put that on my credit card.
-I want to make more friends, so I will just stay home this weekend. Thanks for inviting me.
I have noticed this gap so often in my life. So, why do we say one thing and do another? Sometimes, it is just pure procrastination, plain and simple. Other times, it’s a lack of insight. Often, it is us deceiving ourselves. We set goals for the future to relieve the anxiety of not putting any effort or energy into them. “I will start a diet Monday.” “First of the year I am going to start writing.” “I will spend time with the kids tomorrow.” These future oriented statements let us breathe easy in the moment and relieve the guilt or anxiety we feel for not making progress. So we go through life in a future oriented mindset and escape the daily negative impositions. The only problem is, eventually time runs out.
Who do you want to become? What do you want to be? What would you like your life to look like? You are either moving closer to what you desire or it is becoming smaller in the distance. Be honest with yourself. Start now. Be present. Enlist some discipline. Set goals. Break those goals into smaller goals. Don’t make your goals global. List specific goals that you can measure. Evaluate your progress often. Seek accountability.
We are all becoming something.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Question: What or who do you want to become?
Earlier I had to make a late night run into the office to take care of a few things. As I drove, a Jon Foreman song came on that made my thoughts turn to my wife. Out of nowhere I start crying. Why? I wasn’t really sure. It wasn’t sadness. I have no major difficulties going on in my life right now. I am not feeling any anxiety in the moment. But there I was, underneath a black sky, driving down a dimly lit road, weeping.
At the risk of sounding overly sentimental, I realized it was joy. So here I am now, unpacking the reason for this sudden burst of emotion from the safety and comfort of my bedroom against the backdrop of a humming box fan, my wife breathing, and the familiar rumble of a train as it crawls past my house.
As I drove tonight all it took was that one song to tip the first domino and bring to mind the blessings in my life. In about 24 hours, I turn 30 years old. Three decades. They have gone by in a blink. Sometimes I wish I could slow things down, just let certain snippets of time linger. Life consists of all of your moments lined up in a row, but I am all too often tempted to forget about the moments and press for the future. It is the moments that become lodged in our memory as we reflect back later. So many good moments in the last 30 years have flooded my mind tonight. So many recollections to be thankful for.
I remember my wife on our wedding day. The look in her eye that communicated she never wanted to be with anyone else. I remember the first Island sunset we watched together, the day after we married, as it dipped below the horizon. Coming home together for the first time. Walking across the stage together to receive our Master’s degree. Driving to Dallas to get our dog. The time it snowed in December in Southeast Texas. I remember the first time I saw my son and feeling love and pride well up inside that I could not previously have understood. All the little quirky things he does that remind me of myself. I have hundreds of memories from growing up in my parents home. Late night talks with my mom. Early morning fishing trips with my dad. Movies we watched. Games we played. Sayings we had. Things we laughed at. Vacations that we went on. My dad’s enthusiasm when he saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time and us both spitting off of the top of the Empire State Building. I remember the time a Blackhawk helicopter landed in our yard. I remember naive conversations with friends. Music that we liked to listen to. Studying for certain tests in college. Planning what life would be like. I remember all of the antics my roommates and I had. The time we ran a truck over a Christmas tree in the middle of the parking lot just because we had nothing better to do or pouring washing detergent in the school fountain. I remember Christmas plays that our church had. Specific sermons that impacted me in a significant way. Kind words spoken by others. I remember certain times were God convicted me to change and other times were He nudged me in a certain direction. I remember the first time I spoke in front of a congregation. If space and time would permit, I could fill volumes about all of my memories. All of the moments that have composed my life.
It’s almost been 30 years. I have gotten to love so many people. I have been loved more than seems possible. I have been blessed more than I deserve. I know where I will be when this body wears out. It has been a joy. There have been highs and lows, but the string of moments that have comprised my life have been wonderful. If 30 years is all I get, I can honestly say it has blown any expectations I had. I look forward to whatever the future holds and wonder how it could be any better.
I am thankful that tonight was about remembering, for the flood of unexpected emotion and surprising joy, and for 30 years of life that have gone by too quickly.
“Over and over I hear the same refrain
It’s the rhythm of my heart
And my sleepy girl’s breathing
It’s the rhythm of my Southbound Train”
Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.