Life is a gift.
One of the most precious things to me is that first breath I take when I wake in the morning. It reminds me that I am alive and that life is a gift. A gift from God.
I breathe that first breath and silently say a thank you to God for giving me an extra day and then hop out of bed thinking “now, who am I going to help today?!”.
And off I go.
I will die someday, and so will you. And that is a good thing.
Knock on your doorstep.
You see everyone dies but not everyone lives, really lives. Everyone should be dying to live. Yes, that’s right – DYING TO LIVE!
Knowing that we will die someday should allow you to live each and every day as if it were your last because you never know when that last day will knock on your doorstep.
My biological mum died in 2011.
She had a tough life, partly of her own doing and I remember seeing her in her last days, her body laced with cancer, laying in her hospital bed, waiting to die ….
A truly sad but life-affirming sight for a courageous human being.
I sat by her bed-side and asked her many questions, questions I had never asked before. I asked her about death and whether she was afraid of dying. She said “no’, that she was in God’s hands.
Strange, but a month before she died, my son, Zachary was born. Aaaahhh … the “Circle of Life”. Life gives and … life takes.
The most contented person I’ve ever known.
When I reflect on that experience I realize that she knew God. She had seen the first and the last, the beginning and the end. She knew and believed who had made her and who had redeemed (and saved her). She also knew who was going to take her back (her soul/spirit), back to himself – her broken body notwithstanding.
My mum didn’t die alone in a room. No, she had a room filled with close church-goers to keep her company every day and set her off to God. She was in constant physical pain. I felt real pain seeing and hearing her suffer – in person and on the phone.
But, you know what the strange thing was (and I still find it quite odd) that by world’s standards and every day standards, this woman who was my mum, who was in such great pain – this woman was the most contented person I had ever known.
The beauty of life.
Some people may have said that she had lost touch with reality at that time in order to protect herself against the pain of cancer. I believe, however, that she had got in touch with reality in a way that few of us ever do, and had seen it’s beauty… The beauty of life.
So, what does this say about dying?
I’m not sure.
There are so many views of dying but my experience with my mum’s taught me something. If we turned life around, I think that dying (and the realising that we will all die some day) is one of the things that help us understand what living is.
I watched quite a few extended family members die over the years. I saw their’s and others’ pain (including mine). From this I learned one thing about death and that is that dying hurts. Dying hurts both those who die and those who are left behind, who will also die when their turn comes.
I witnessed this hurt in my wife’s eyes and words at her grandmother’s funeral late last year. She was very close to her and I loved her dear grandmother too. I particularly miss her grandfather, who I had a great relationship with. You could say – everything comes to an end … eventually, I guess.
But, I also like to believe that dying may be the beginning of something rather than the end….
The last time I communicated with my mum, she could only murmur sounds, nothing that I could understand. I told her that she shouldn’t worry and that I will join her someday soon. She just had to wait a little longer.
So, project yourself forward to when you are taking your last few breaths and you reflect on your life. Understand that you, we – all die because we have lived. So, choose to live, to have really lived.
We live in order to know and love the God who made us.
To die is, to some extent, to become more real in this sorrowful world.
You, me, every one of us should be dying to live.
So, grab life with both hands, give it a little shake, say thank you and choose to LIVE IT!
Until next time,