I’ve been thinking. Why does it take death to shout “live better”. I mean we know we are born one day and one day we will die. No exceptions.
So why does it take bad news, difficult situations for us to take stock? Even then, the effects are not permanent. We have such short memories. We get burned. We feel the pain. When the pain is gone, we forget.
Until it’s a death looming … in whatever form.
Maybe it’s the end of life as we know it and whatever beliefs we subscribe to, we are going into the big unknown. We don’t know what’s coming to us. Particularly since the lessons learnt while on this side of the divide, are short-lived. As such, we probably strive to make amends more conscientiously to garner some last minute brownie points.
Does it work that way?
I lost a dear friend recently. And seeing how he lived, full of courage and faithful till the end, inspired me. He seemed to have come to an equilibrium with his Creator God. He told us that his illness was a wake up call to things more eternal. Nothing matters when we leave this earth. Not the stars and the stripes we earned. Not fame and fortune. Nor the blinks and branded bags. Nor beauty which fades. Or a physical body that wastes away. (I wonder what happens to botoxed faces and lifted body parts? 😕 )
Naked we come into the world and naked we leave. We can’t take anything with us.
So why do we place so much premium on things? Have such a penchant for man’s approval and praise? Pursue success and wealth above all else?
My friend challenged me to live well when he told me he was terminally ill and sharing his regret in life. He said not to wait for something earth-shattering to happen to learn to live better. Since then, I have been reminding myself whenever I feel that I have been dealt a bad hand, to remember what matters.
My friend would happily have accepted any of the “bad hands” I’ve been dealt with, for a second chance at life. To live well without the encumberance of a life sentence over his head. To prioritise life the way it should be for him – a restored relationship with his God. To show his family he loved them not only by working hard to provide for them but to be present for them in the big things and the little things too. To use his ability to extend help to his larger community. And even the seemingly mundane, like to eat in moderation and to exercise and keep healthy.
He finished well. My friend. But he told us to live well. Not that he didn’t. He lived life with a fervour and passion, not many can attest to. Whatever, he pursued, he excelled in. Whether it was his studies, his career, family, football, helping needy, wayward kids… well, pretty much anything he touched. He was driven and disciplined but he reminded us it is vain glory, things done in the flesh. But immortal, when done with a perspective of eternity.
He inspired me. My friend. He stormed through the finish line. Maybe not in his beleaguered, mortal body. But in spirit.
I want this lesson to stick. I hope in the spirit that this will not be a flash in the pan. I want to finish well from a race well-run. It is, after all, the journey, that takes us to the final destination.
Thank you, my friend. Rest now.
Published on 270711 on what would have been his 47th birthday.