So there I was, just minding my own business, listening to the radio while I wrote . . .
It was 5 am on a Saturday morning and I was sitting down to write. I was oddly in the mood for some KLOVE radio instead of my Call Me Maybe Pandora station, when OUT OF NOWHERE God smacks me with a 2 x 4 upside the head. I don’t love it when He does that.
A woman named Nick had called in, and her story knocked the wind right out of me. At 25, she’d been given 10 years to live due to the same heart condition that took her father at 35. But what struck me as so amazing was how cheerful and bright and inspiring she was. As she talked about her bucket list, and how she lets anger and negativity slide right off, I was struck at how she’d actually embodied the cliche that we should “live each day as if it’s our last.” She knew her time was fleeting–had a countdown going on, even. But she also said, “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. I don’t have time for angry. I don’t have time to put things off until tomorrow.”
Wow, neither do I.
I’ve been working closely with a prominent family here in Utah. The patriarch had amassed a fortune (with a B) and died at a very early age because he didn’t take care of himself. He literally worked himself to death and died before he even reached Senior Citizen status. My work involves a speech for one of the boys who implores business leaders and entrepreneurs to rethink “Success.” Every time I hear him talk about how limited our time is here on earth and how we can’t waste it working on the wrong things, I can’t help but wonder if I’m really living each day like it’s my last.
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. ~ Steve Jobs
I started the month on a very bittersweet note. My dearest neighbor is moving and I’ve been deeply impacted by the loss of not having her family so close. As I struggled during the quiet moments one morning, God asked what that moment had to teach me. My answer was that He never promised me time. He didn’t promise me a certain number of Novembers. And he didn’t promise my family members either. This might be the last November I have with one of them.
His Answer: “And what do you want to do about that?”
(I don’t love it when He answers a question with a question, either.)
My mom thinks I’m being a drama queen about it — and I’m totally open to that — but weeks later, as I listened to Nick talk about how she’s completely altered her outlook on life, I thought maybe I wasn’t being a complete drama queen. Because what if I could figure out how to do it like Nick has — what if I could go to bed each night content in the knowledge that I’d given today everything I had, that I’d worked on what mattered, with who mattered.
On this last day of November, I’ve managed unscathed . . . but only in that I still have all the family members I started with . . . my way of thinking has forever been scathed.
I’m full of gratitude after a weekend with my favorite loves, my family, my friends (and okay, some traditional Italian food) and if I die tonight, I’d be okay with that.
And if I get another December, I’m going to treat it like my last. And maybe by next November, I’ll have this cliche figured out.
Or at least be better at ducking the 2 x 4s.