Pondering Cemeteries, My Next Breath, and Jelly Beans

420732_oI drove by  a cemetery today.

As the road carved its way through the hilltop cemetery covered in green grass and tombstones, I had driven through here a million times and yet today.. today it hit me.

Someday, this will be me.

It was like a thousand arrows just simultaneously hit their mark as the realization that that last breath I took, was my only guarantee in life.

Certainly it is one thing to say it or speak with others about it as it is some big challenge or rallying point to get others to maximize each moment they are given, but today.. words could not describe the emotion I felt deep within as I drove past this place.

Like the closing of one’s eyes to a black sea of abyss, the sense of finality was hard to embrace at that moment.

At any given time, it could be your last.

As I continued to drive, I began to count off my years of expected lifespan and yet as I did so, the brutal reality that even still, the law of averages holds no power over the amount of time one has to spend on earth. The fact is, any moment, could be your last moment.

Growing up, my mom was scared to death of death. Her father never made it to 50. For that matter, my father’s mother never made it to 50 either. The good news is that my brother, my only sibling, has made it to 50. For me, I have not… yet.

Hebrews 2:14-15

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

I remember when I first read that passage. At the time, like my mom, I too became overcome with the fear of death to the point of paralysis. The bondage was so severe I could not even sleep at night.

Yet I remember like it was yesterday the moment I read this passage and made it a prayer. It was like a thousand pounds of weight had left my shoulders.

But even still today, now nearly 20 years later, that brief moment of reality passed me by seeking to paralyze me. But this time, my emotions weren’t that out of a fear of the unknown, but rather the fear of the now what?

Now what am I going to do with this realization that any moment could be my last?

  • Would I love like I had never loved before?
  • Would I laugh louder than I had ever laughed before?
  • Would I cry like I have never cried before?
  • Would I live like I had never lived before?

If any guilt resided in this moment, it was with the thought of what have I done in life that truly matters?

When the lights go out in this world, all that’s left behind is a wake. What will be in yours?

Wake: A track, course, or condition left behind something that has passed: The war left destruction and famine in its wake.

The visible track of turbulence left by something moving through water: the wake of a ship.

A true gift in life is to have the opportunity to see your wake, before it’s too late. Depending on what you see should determine that which you will do with your next breath. Yet sometimes, seeing isn’t enough. Sometimes, one has to taste the effects of their wake before they wake up to the reality that what they do next, must change.

Yet so much of life is from the hip and not with a rudder. So we drift, all the while taking each moment for granted.

For me, today was a message.

Life is short.

  • Make amends with yourself, others, and God.
  • Put a rudder on life by surrendering it to the very One who broke those chains
  • Breathe with purpose

To breathe with purpose is to exhale with love.

Now that is a wake much worth leaving behind as it bears the very fingerprints of the very One who brings life into life and the purpose in which life has to breathe.

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2 thoughts on “Pondering Cemeteries, My Next Breath, and Jelly Beans

  1. Pingback: Pondering Lost Purpose | Thoughts from the Horizon

  2. Pingback: The Wake Of The Raven | LucklessPen

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