Monday, October 31, 2011

If I Should Depart Early

Imagine the 42-year-old who’s the successful executive, with wife and two young children, and a lovely home. He’s got it all. Except, that is, his health. He has the early stages of Motor Neurone Disease (MND). He must now prepare for an early exit; to leave his life far too early.

He compiles a video-log just so his children can remember him; it’s a way of including his wishes for the way they are to live their lives.

He must juggle the impending degeneration of his body, to the point where breathing will be impossible, with maximising every single opportunity he has to live life with his wife and children, and the extended family. He has two years to live.

What this man has in common with most of us may be little. But, think. Any of us could be gone anytime.

Let us, just for a moment, imagine that reality. Life, finished, done.

It’s not the propensity for morbidity; it’s the plain willingness to stare truth in the face—that is, the face of God. The Lord could, by our circumstances, call us in, anywhere, anytime.

We might arrive there, with the Almighty, even before this man with MND.

The Blessing of a Changed Mindset

What is generated in our thoughts as we consider the possibility of an untimely death?

It beckons us to prepare, to reconcile any brokenness within our power, to make the moments count just a little differently. We look at our children from a distance with fresh eyes and, indeed, our parents cause a new degree fondness in our hearts. These relationships (or the memory of them), and others, despite our problems, are the most wondrous gifts of God.

We may look at our jobs, our time-pressed commitments, the lack of space, many conflicting priorities, and see that God has placed us here—for a purpose. As we reflect, that purpose glows resplendently, even when it simultaneously causes us frustration. The frustration is in perspective; God’s perspective.


If we are suitably changed by the above thought—a very real prospect for every one of us—then we might commence more of our days, sprinkled with forethought, prefacing every word in the mood: “If I should depart early...”

Of course, we will forget.

But, if we faint for purpose anytime, with lives momentarily bereft of meaning, we have it instantly in completing the sentence: “If I should depart early...”

It propels us forward into reality-check mode.

Reality checks are few and far between. But every moment is a potential reality check. Our lives will have power, purpose, and poise when we learn to courageously stare our deaths in the face... of God.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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