MY life is supposed to be about me, isn’t it? I mean, aren’t I the star of this show? Isn’t it about my wishes, my desires, my goals, my plans….. hence MY life?
I’m reading a book with a small group that I am a part of, called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It’s geared towards developing authentic faith in God as opposed to the status quo mediocrity we sometimes become accustomed to. You know, just going through the motions. Regardless of what someone practices, I’m sure we all relate to faith that becomes more routine than intimate, more bland than from the heart. Personally, I find doing things I am “supposed” to do, or that I’m “obligated” to do, without really wanting to; SUFFOCATING.
I’ve been a Christian all of my life, but who knew my faith (almost 37 years later) hadn’t even hit puberty yet! It’s like I woke up this morning with pubescent spiritual acne that I wasn’t expecting! I’m only through the first three chapters of this book and already a fury of thoughts and shifted perceptions fill my mind, but one in particular moved me.
Have you ever considered your own mortality? I hadn’t, well not until this book. I must admit, I’ve considered OTHER people’s mortality without ever having considered my own.
I’ll admit that I’m not the most patient person in the world, and it’s definitely something I need to constantly work on; from hurrying my poor husband out the door to listening to my Dad tell me eleven times over a span of one week how important it is to save…and when I feel my blood start to boil, I try and remind myself that there will probably come a time when I will wish for this annoying moment back (knock on wood). That since heaven doesn’t allow phone calls, I need to take in whatever time I have with everyone around me right now regardless of context or content. Does that work for me? Does it help me become a more loving, understanding and patient person? Not really.
Until this book challenged me to consider MY own mortality….GASP! True enough, despite how invincible I’ve mistakenly seen my own life, the reality is, I could die at any moment. It really would just take one person’s inopportune text message or that extra drink that someone had after work to unintentionally clip me and send me into never never land….
I’ve heard all of the clichés, sure “live like you’re dying” – “be present in each moment” blah blah blah, but none of those stirred any authentic consideration until Francis Chan convinced me that I could literally die tonight.
If that negligent distracted driver should spin out my vehicle tonight on the street – and I know right now, that it could happen just hours from now – I immediately recognize that I’m not concerned about me and how I’ve been treated, I’m concerned about the ones I’d be leaving behind and how I’ve treated them. Was I kind enough? Did I love enough? Could I have been more nurturing or positive? Could I have been more helpful and considerate? Who could I have given more to? Who should I have reached out to?
If I am given the luxury of the knowledge that, yup, tonight that negligent guy is going to fatally hit me – I’d make sure to kiss Jason before he left this morning, I’d pop into my parents house and see how they’re doing….but aside from just relationships, I’d step out of my car, take a deep breath and truly feel that cold wintery air on my skin. I’d look around to really notice and see the places I blindly drive past every morning; the beautiful red brick buildings, the misted air over the beautiful frozen river – I feel like I would morph into a quiet observer, my higher self. I wouldn’t be annoyed by the traffic because I’d be so busy appreciating this last ride. I probably wouldn’t be judging that insecure girl in my office who speaks too loudly and for too long, because my higher self would forgive and understand that she is only acting the way she knows how to. My higher self would never have the capacity to waste one moment of this last day on any kind of judgment, hate, intolerance, impatience or anything other than LOVE.
But the interesting thing that I realize, is, these thoughts aren’t coming from a worry of how people are perceiving me or making sure I’m liked when I’m gone; it comes from a strong sense of self responsibility. It is my responsibility to give patience, kindness and love….not for others to deserve it. I am responsible for my actions and I truly can choose my responses, because I know; that if today were my last day on this earth; I’d even smile at an “enemy”.
So thank you Francis Chan for helping me recognize that each moment of my life is truly a gift. That me being here right now writing this, is a blessing. I can’t be sure that I’ll retire, collect pension and have morning walks with J by the river each day – so instead I will live this day recognizing that instead of focusing on myself, I’d much rather focus on the big beautiful world around me …. <3