The Life We Live

My daughter’s cheerleading coach passed away last night. What was first thought of as diabetes turned out to be an extremely aggressive cancer that took her after only a few months. She was only ten years older than my wife and I. Her family, and our community, will be grieving deeply for her loss.

I know my daughter loved her, and when those we love die they take a part of us with them. Our family has lost parents and grandparents, close friends and people we admire. The pain of their loss can hit any one of us at any time; triggered by a date, or an object, or a memory of how they used to enjoy one thing or another. Sometimes we long for the comforting sound of their voice so much it aches inside us. When they are gone we wish for what everyone wishes for, more time.

But, despite my skepticism, despite my scientific, rational mind that often cries out for reason, I have to believe that there must be something more than this, that when the shadow of reality shimmers away, as it will for all of us, our consciousness, our soul, lives on. While we are bound to our physical bodies in the physical world, we can’t see it, but it’s there, waiting for each of us. The Bible tells us that each of us is given a certain number of days, and no one knows what that number is.

Our life is so short here, and the human body so fragile. Every second that passes is a second we can never get back. No amount of work or bartering can earn us even a minute more of our life back. But… we can make the passing of our time more worthwhile.

The Bible says that to gain eternal life, you must believe that Jesus is who is says he is and did what he said he did. But after that, what does it say about the time between salvation and eternal life? It says to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. It says to love your enemy, and bless those that persecute you. It says that God is love.

If we fill our days with kindness and mercy, if we leave petty ambition and envy behind, if we forgive slights against us, and smile in the face of adversity, if we stand up for what’s right, if we are honest and true, if we leave laziness and sloth behind us, if we give ourselves over completely to the task at hand, leaving nothing behind, wouldn’t that be a life well lived?

How will you finish the race? How will I? When the end comes for me, will I be able to look back satisfied that I spent my precious seconds the best way I could? Or will I be filled with regrets for the things I did and didn’t do? Am I pushing myself to become what I was placed on Earth to be? Or am I stagnating, inventing excuses and becoming bitter about why I can’t do one thing or another.

There will always be things you’d like to do, but can’t. Hard decisions and tradeoffs for what you believe is best for yourself and your family. Make the decision, embrace it, believe it, and move on to the next right thing to make this one, beautiful, precious life worthwhile.

Learn, build, grow, love. Be kind, gentle, patient, and enduring. Find joy in the moments we have, because life is here for a moment, and then, gone.