Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34
This verse came to mind today when I heard a more recent version of its sentiment emanating from my car radio. You might recall Tim McGraw singing “Live Like You Were Dying” from the viewpoint of a man whose friend was diagnosed with cancer. I loved the song when it came out 16 years ago and it really hit me between the eyes when I listened to it again in the context of the ongoing pandemic.
When we get our daily dose of statistics related to diagnoses and death, it’s important to remember that every one of those digits represents a human life and that we must take responsibility for how we act. At the same time, we need to realize that many in the media and in certain political circles are using those numbers devoid of context to scare people and even coerce them into actions that may or may not be the best course forward.
Regardless of their intent or impact, there is no denying that we all have an intimacy with death at a level that was previously unfamiliar to most of us. While we could let this depress us, I think we need to take this situation as an encouragement to live, not fearfully, but more fully. Knowing that this virus lurks nearby, perhaps in the breath of a co-worker or the cough of a loved one, we certainly need to live with caution, but we cannot stop living while we are still breathing.
So, today, knowing that the threat that hangs over us, let’s ask ourselves, are we living with a heightened appreciation for every minute we may have on this Earth? Not to be macabre, but if your deathbed were only a month away, would you do things differently today?
Would you make that phone call to a person with whom you lost touch or write that relative whose last conversation with you ended in anger and hurt feelings? Would you swing for the fences in your business or finally work to develop a particular talent you’ve pushed to the back burner? Would you pick up that instrument you once played in high school and bring some joy with music? Would you invest your time encouraging voter registration or perhaps donate a portion of your finances to a worthy cause? At a minimum, would you get an estate attorney to help get your affairs in order so that your loved ones are not left handcuffed in probate as your estate is resolved?
In the song, McGraw talks about skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing or riding rodeo bulls, but those are just examples of a life lived with a sense of the finite and an embrace of the eternal. Your activities chosen living like you were dying may be totally different, but they can bring you closer to your God-given purpose and heighten your impact with every breath you take.
I hope that you will join me this week in reflecting on the impermanence of life and choosing to live your life more boldly, more joyfully and without fear. Like McGraw sang, “I hope you get the chance to live like you were dying.” Have a great week.