I was reading on Facebook about a woman my friend knows who was diagnosed 31 days ago with cancer and she is now in the final stages of her life. Thirty one days ago? How? Why.., I mean .., “what now?” What do I do with this? Well besides praying for this couple I began to think about how I would do things differently if I were given 31 days to live. Here’s the list I came up with (unedited and in about two minutes):
Love deeply and more passionately. Say I love you more often. Hug more. Sit beside my kids longer. Tell more people that Jesus loves them and that life with Him is and should look, feel and be different. Complain less. Be more patient. Walk more slowly, enjoy a beautiful day for its smells and sights and sounds, try to be present in mind and spirit with those I am with. Quit regretting the past. Hug, hug, hug and love my husband and tell him how much he means to me. Have joy. Not be afraid to show tears. Not get upset when shoes aren’t where they belong, the seat is left up or when I have to vacuum…, again. Write love letters to my children and husband. Eat whatever I wanted. Write my nieces and nephews; telling them why they are so special and all that I hope for them in life. Not have stress about that load of laundry that needs to be folded, that plant that should be watered, that my kid’s rooms are messy. Still make my bed every morning. Pray more passionately, with more hope and with greater expectations. Not feel the need to tell my husband what he did wrong, how he could have done better or treat him like he is my last priority. Look my children in the eye when they talk to me. Tell my brothers how much I love them. Tell my in-laws how much I love them. Thank my parents…, for everything. Hire someone to mow the lawn. Get a tattoo (not really).
Nice list huh? I cried writing it. I lamented about some of the things I waste my life doing (or not doing). The bottom line is I want to love like I have 31 days but the reality is I probably won’t. The reality is in two hours or tomorrow or next week I will forget “31” and the reality is I am not dropping out of grad school, writing all of my family members a tear jerking letter or becoming the perfect wife to my husband (sorry honey). It isn’t that I don’t want to or don’t see the importance but unless we are dying, we don’t live like we’re dying. But now that I am trying to ask “what now” instead of “why” here is what will happen. I will pray to remember “31” this week. I will ask God to help me remember “31” when I want to lose my temper because Chris left his shoes out or when I want to get one more thing done instead of spend time with the kids. I will pray and ask God to help me love more and care more and focus more on people and relationships than I do cleaning, criticizing and “doing.” I will pray the big picture of “31” and shut my mouth one more time tomorrow when I normally would have it flapping. I will have a little more empathy when I normally wouldn’t have time to notice or care. I will, by the grace of God, look a little more like Christ tomorrow because I will pray “31.”
“Dear Lord, please bless this sweet couple and give them some hope, some joy and gobs and gobs of your love in the time they have left. I am sorry for what they are going thru. Help “31” not fall off my radar because I do not want to look back with regret when you are calling me home. Help me to learn something from this dear family and in doing so help me to live a life of love for as many days I have left. Amen.”