Thursday, November 07, 2013

Thankful my last opportunity wasn't my last.

"How was your day today?" I asked. Mildred responded, "Well, not very good. I died today." 
"You died today?"
I turn to look at Mildred, a very old, a very tired, a very lovely woman laying in the fetal position in her nursing home bed. "What makes you think you died today Mildred?"
"Well, I think it, because I'm dying."

3 times a week my daughters and I go to the nursing home to visit this woman with such incredible stories. She's been to all 7 continents and after her children were raised she went back to college and got her Masters degree in business and became a college professor at CSU, her stories range from her neighbors giving her a llama as a child to watching her parents dance in the living room to the radio. She also tells a story about narrowly escaping a major Colorado flood while wearing a square dancing dress and climbing up the side of a mountain for safety - but I'm pretty sure her confused mind made that one up.

For the next hour during our visit all she talked about was her death. Her wishes that people wouldn't bring flowers, her hopes that little children would come to the funeral. Most noticeable was her lack of regrets. She had nothing to say to anyone, no fears that I needed to calm. Nothing. Just a general acceptance that she was dying. Possibly she was too tired to care.

When I asked if she was ready, if she knew that her sins were forgiven, she said something I'll never forget, "I just haven't planned that far ahead."

Tonight, I think I'm more anxious than she is. Seeing her so tired, and so focused on death, I can't help but wonder if she'll be there when I go back. Does she have enough clarity, will God give her enough clarity, for that one last decision she needs to take care of. Did she make that decision long ago and she's just not able to articulate it to me now?

So many think they will wait for that last moment, but watching her and her confusion, I can't help but think how many of us outlive our own minds.The time we think we'll have, isn't guaranteed by any means - even if you don't die suddenly.

Looking back at my own life, it's easy for me to think that so many years were wasted. The years I struggled, the years I doubted God and had only the religious experience of being a person who goes to church, the years I just didn't care. I want to wonder at how different my life would be had I served God with all my heart from the very beginning.


But I can't change the past. And I'm not guaranteed one more second, much less one more day. So tonight, tonight is what I have. So if I really want to serve God, to find some way to bring God glory with my life, I guess I need to do it now. And every "now" for the rest of my life.

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