Monday, January 30, 2012

If I Die Young...

"If you found out you had one year left to live, what would you do?"

A question that my friend Laena pondered in a recent post titled: "Before I go." Excellent post. I'd definitely recommend it, because she uses a lens, not often used in our fast paced society to examine the concept. That's all I'll go read it!

The post got me thinking myself.

Everybody has their own personal "bucket lists." Things we want, experiences we covet, and every list varies.

Now, perhaps, I'm over thinking this question. Maybe it's meant to imply that we should do as much as we can in this particular scenario, maybe not. But as I thought about what I would do, if I would find out I had but a year to live, I realized that I would simply focus on one thing...
Being more thankful.

Material things are fun, and there's a great deal of stuff that I'd personally like to own...but in the end, it's just stuff. I think experiences are great, but quantity of experience doesn't necessarily make for a better life.

I think that being thankful would be a great way to begin...and end this life.

What I mean is this...

Understanding that longevity is never promised from the day of conception. Understanding the simple fact that the sweet breath that's breathed into our lungs from our very first gasp, is a gift.

Nothing is ours to ask for.

We didn't create our first heartbeat. Nor do we determine when it will stop. We didn't create our lungs, our eyes, our hands. We didn't create our sense of touch, or smell. We were knit together by masterful hands. Thrust into a world that has much beauty as well as ugliness, and were given the opportunity to add our two cents to the greater story that's being told.

I think, that the understanding that nothing is mine, and that I'm not owed anything by life has given me a deep sense of peace. I'm not afraid of dying. I'm not driven by the need to prolong my life. Everyone has their day, and until mine comes I'm going to live the life that I hope I'd find satisfying if I actually was given a gloomy progenosis.

I want to appreciate my family, my friends every day.
I want to help someone in need. I want to spread love, not hate.
I want to be inspired by someone.
I want to be a better man than I was yesterday.
I want to give more than I take.
I want to leave my friends with happy memories of our time together...

These, in the end, are the things that I feel matter the most. They can happen at anytime. They can happen today. They can happen everyday.

But it all begins with peace.
A peace that is rooted in thankfulness.
Thankfulness that grows from understanding.
Understanding that causes us to realize that we've been given a tremendous, beautiful opportunity.

To share.
To heal.
To bless.
To love.
To breathe.

To live.

So maybe the true question isn't, "If you had a year left in your life, what would you do with it?"

Maybe the true question is: "How are you living today?"

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