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Thursday, June 30, 2016

An Ordinary Day

"Life is too short"

How often have I heard that phrase and never really understood the significance of it?

The Bible says, "Life is like a vapor."  It is.  It's here only for what seems like a moment and then like a puff of smoke, it's gone.

As I've grown older I find myself celebrating fewer births and weddings.  Instead I attend more funerals.  In the past three years I've lost at least a dozen close friends and family members.

No one expects to die.  No one wakes up one morning and plans on having their life cease at a precise moment and location.

Sometimes death is long and drawn out.  Sometimes it happens in a wink of eye.  It is no respecter of age, gender or station in life.  It is the great equalizer.  Like birth, all humans have death in common.  As our preacher has a habit of saying, "You'll never see a U-Haul trailer hitched to a hearse.

Since my retirement I've had a lot of time to think about life, living and death.  I've come to realize that all those things that seemed so important to me when I was younger (career, family, fame, fortune) mean very little if nothing at all.

The best anyone can hope for is that their life meant something.  Not to themselves, but to others.  What impact did they have on other people's lives?  Were they kind?  Did they give more than their money?  Did they give their time?  Did they tell the people close to them that they were important and loved?  Did they place God first in their life.  If they did, everything else was taken care of.

When my time comes I don't want a big funeral.  A simple memorial service over my cremated ashes.  I want my family and friends to celebrate my life, remember the good times and know that I loved them.

With so much time on my hands I've come to appreciate just being still and quiet.  There's no reason to rush.  No urge to accomplish great things.  Long-held terrestrial goals seem to fade and disappear.  I'm content just to be alive and spend time with my wonderful wife, visit my friends, attend church and take a big breath and 'chillax' as my daughter puts it.

That's not to say that day-to-day chores are left undone or that planning for vacations, trips, family outings and the like are removed from my agenda.  It's just that having no promise of tomorrow I've slowly beginning to enjoy the moment.  Life is for living day-to-day, minute-by-minute.  It's not a race because in the end we all wind up on the finish line and if Heaven is our ultimate goal, we win.