Saturday, September 19, 2009

Living As If It Were the Last Hour of Our Lives

There are perhaps many second chances in life to get things right, but at times the first chance is the last, and infrequently we know, there is no last chance. Distilled that way life is a grand finale every time—we have but the moment. But that’s not the way life seems to work predominantly. We miss the mark and we get another chance; over and again it often seems. Still, there’s the ever-present threat of death, the most persuasive force known to life itself barring only God.

There are some so predisposed to living life with a transcendent purpose—they understand the eternal role each act transmits and portrays. The sentiment might be:

“Resolved, never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life” –Jonathon Edwards.

This nuggetty offering is all about not wasting time, resources, effort and opportunity. It’s about not being caught with our pants down at our last gasp. It endorses the view that our lives could be over in a heartbeat—why would we waste our lives, living extravagantly, if we realised the true import of things.

We live, most of us, an insulated life—denying these realities, until they’re thrust offensively in our faces. Life happens and it slaps us about a bit and we’re left reeling. Or perhaps worse, it happens to someone we love and we feel helpless to help them.

And all we can do, as Delta Goodrem put it, is try. We were born to try. And of course—the flipside in any event—bad things do occasionally happen to good people.

The ultimate corrective to life really—the definitive and consummate maturity—is to live responsibly as if this moment were our last. We scrutinise every last motive on our way to an appropriately lived life. We bask in this moment, not in laziness and privilege and extravagance, but in a mood of thankfulness and awe at a life that looks so enduring but is really very transient.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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