Tim McGraw released a song a few years ago, "Live like you were dying." If you're not familiar with it, it talks about a guy who, has evidently, developed some disease and has realized that he's not going to be here forever. It goes through the emotions of the first days after the diagnosis, then he was asked how it felt when he heard the diagnosis, and then, "Man, what did you do?"
It's a good song, and I guess you could say this guy started talking about his bucket list...you know, the things we want to do before we kick the bucket. He started talking about skydiving, mountain climbing, riding a bull, letting go of old hurts, forgiving folks, being a better husband, well, you get the idea.
That song hits me kind of close because this guy was in his early 40's and I'm just a few months away from 40 myself. I'm starting to realize that this ride doesn't last forever, especially since I've come into the ministry. Funerals, life celebrations, whatever name we give them, drive home the fact that at some point, we're all going to take that last ride, and I have officiated at a bunch of them.
Then, this morning, I was reading the Life Journal texts and something hit me. King Hezekiah is sick and about to die. Evidently he has a boil that has gotten infected and he is on his way out. Isaiah comes to him and tells him to get things ready, he's about to shove off. Evidently Isaiah has terrible bedside manners. Hezekiah did what any of us would do if we heard the same thing, he shot up a death bed prayer. Here's what he said:
'"Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.' And Hezekiah wept bitterly."
He didn't ask to be healed, or for long life, just that God remember how he had lived. Evidently God did, because Hezekiah was given a second chance...another 15 years. Now, here is my question: What would you do if you knew how much longer you had to live?
If I knew that I was going to check out on a certain day, and knew for sure that it wasn't some divine practical joke, I would definitely go sky diving. I don't think I would get on a bull named Fu Man Chu. I would try to be a better husband and father. I would spend more time on the important stuff, and less on the stuff that's not so much. I would try to finish up with no regrets, and mend relationships (and yes, even preacher's have some relationships that could use some work). I might start my own list, like Earl did, and make right all of the things I had made wrong. (I've already tracked down all of my old girlfriends and apologized, so I'm good there.)
And here is the rub, why do we not do those things anyhow? I mean, think about it. Why do we put off healing relationships, having a little fun, and just living life in general? It just doesn't make any sense. Now, I don't run around acting the fool...much...but by dang, it's time to start living like I was dying.
I've always said that I don't want to just sit around and give up, waiting for everything to break down, I want to go sliding into that last bed on two wheels, screaming, "Dang, what a ride!" I don't want to be lying there, even if I go today, with folks filing by and wondering about things I might have left undone. I don't want a bunch of blubbering and stuff like that, I want a party. Life is too short.
So, why not? Live today as if it's the last day you've got. Tell the folks you love that you love them. Do something absolutely insane (just try to stay legal). Live on the edge a little. Give thanks to God for life itself. And recognize the fact that, every day, we are given a second chance.