Tomorrow morning marks the date – as it does each year. Another full year has gone by.
Over the course of the past four years, I have played a lot of “what if” games in my head.
What if I had checked on him one more time before I left home that morning?
What if there was something going on with him that we missed?
What if. . .
What if. . .
What if. . .
Some questions I ask myself are simple and have obvious answers. Some are infinite conundrums. Some are darker than others and will open my eyes some nights where I don’t get to close them back again.
But, the “what if” I have played most often lately is – what if I had known what that Friday morning had in store for me? A day ahead, a month ahead, or even the day I first held him in that suburban hospital in Maricopa County, Arizona. How would it have affected my choices?
Would I have been as impatient with his whining over not getting his way or having to do something he didn’t want to?
Would I have been as slow to say “yes” to crawling around in his room playing trucks or being arrested for undocumented crimes? (Most of the time, his prisoner’s fate wasn’t a jail cell. It was immediate execution. We were working on that.)
Would I have been as excited to see him after a long day where the clock just wouldn’t move?
I picture myself running to doctors, specialists, just about whomever I could find to try to alter his fate. It’s one of the multitude of reasons, no doubt, that we don’t get to know dates like August 25th, 2017, ahead of time. We say we would want just one more hug, one more smile or laugh, just one more day. But, chances are we would try to finagle our way into another and another and another.
And, it’s true. One more day would be great. One more laugh or smile would fill my heart. And one more hug would be phenomenal. But, the truth is I could never have enough of any of those things.
So, the real question for me (and for all of us) is what are you gonna do now?
What do you do with the reminder that from the moment we are born we are chasing a number? A number of finite, predetermined, absolute days?
Not just you – but your spouse. . .
Your parents. . . .
Your children. . . .
Your grandchildren. . .
Your co-workers. . .
All of us.
No, we aren’t to live afraid of that number. We aren’t to live all Carpe Diem as if there literally is no tomorrow, despite what Mr. Keating might tell you (random movie reference). But, we are to live knowing our days are numbered and the days of anyone that you love are also numbered.
This isn’t meant to be a dark and sobering post – rather, a freeing one. So, let me give you a list to work on. Not just some project you might get to. But, one you could start on – right now:
- Grant forgiveness.
- It will free you more than it will help the person you are forgiving.
- Be courageous.
- The things that we step out in faith on often are the most rewarding.
- You don’t always have to do the talking – a friendly shoulder or ear is sometimes more valuable than diamonds or gold.
- Be excellent!
- Don’t settle for getting something done or checking a box. Strive for being the best, even if you don’t always make it there.
- When it’s inconvenient.
- Even if you aren’t sure why.
- Say “yes.”
- To that movie with your teenager, that game of catch with your son, that date with your husband or wife, that time on the porch with your friend.
- Be a teammate.
- Don’t worry about getting credit, being the alpha dog all the time, or having the spotlight. Be someone others want to be around and want on their team.
- Practice kindness.
- Treat others the way you want to be treated. All the time. That is all.
- Not because you need that train to move or you hope your report is what the boss wanted. But, a real-live conversation with the God of the Universe. He’d like that.
You may have other suggestions for this list. Regardless, the bottom line is that I don’t know where or when that number I’m chasing ends. Andy Dufresne (random movie reference #2) changed his life forever for the better once he made his choice. And we have the same choice – to “get busy livin‘. . . .or get busy dyin.”
To Kane: I miss you, son. As much today as I did 1,460 days ago – day one without you. But, it’s not time to see you again just yet.
God still has work for me to do. See you soon.