In the last year, I’ve been constantly reminded of the fragile line between life and death.
Jason Gray’s song, “Good to Be Alive” has the refrain that says, “I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow, love like I’m on borrowed time”. He encourages us to live our lives well which is an excellent recommendation.
I used to view this song differently. When I heard it, I thought about such things as making a difference in my home and community so that I wasn’t wasting any time but making an impact for a better world. It was about something bigger than me, yet somehow it was still very selfish by being all about me. Thinking like that can lead to feeling pressured especially if you didn’t accomplish anything profound for months on end, just living and maintaining some sense of order in a busy life. This can lead to thinking that spirals down to feeling sad for not doing anything worthwhile or special in a grander scheme of things. In this, being average or normal somehow seems like failing.
Now, this song is a positive song. I like this song. It’s great. It is about how wonderful it is to be alive. This is true!
It isn’t great to be me-centered which is what most of us do, if we are honest. What will make me happy? What do I want to do? What should I do? Do I have time for this? How will I be fulfilled? How can I make this better? Why do I feel sad? What were my motives? How will I be remembered? What could I have done to make the situation better? Our life really isn’t all about us.
While we are out living our lives, whether it is an exciting day or a quiet, ho-hum day, most people take the day for granted. We plan what we’re going to do tomorrow, next week, next year. We set long term goals. All of this is great. We all need motivation.
But what if we learn we have a fatal disease or a loved one’s prognosis is grim? The doctor’s “life sentence” is shocking. It’s scary. It makes you think.
Jason Gray’s song is about not taking life for granted. When you have someone in your life with a terminal illness, suddenly your thinking changes. Among all the questions of what and why and how, there are questions of how can I be more intentional? What matters most? What is the best use of my time? What do we want to do and who do we want to include?
Accomplishments aren’t that important anymore. It’s more about loving people. Certainly taking care of yourself and your stuff has to be done, but the stuff doesn’t really matter. What is stuff? It breaks, rots, gets lost or given away. Why do we worry so much about our stuff?
I’ve been thinking about what can we do together to make a happy, fun memory? What can we talk about that will bring joy and smiles? If we really only had today, would we be doing what we’re doing right now, or would we be doing something else?
Have you let the people you love know how much you love them and how much they matter?
Are you at peace with the transition into eternity? Despite the sorrow, how do you feel?
So what does living like there is no tomorrow and loving like you’re on borrowed time look and mean to you?
I’m not sure we grasp it. It’s the same as with the question, “Would you act like this if Jesus was physically beside you?” We still do crazy or foolish things even though Jesus is right beside us in spirit.
It’s good to strive to live that way, but I’m not sure how it looks in reality. You see, I’m writing this today believing I have lots of tomorrows, but maybe I don’t. I don’t want to have any regrets, but I know I do.
Life is short. The older I get, the more this is driven home. Make the most of your day. As my late father-in-law once said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.” Yet I still get upset about things that don’t actually matter. Oh, will we ever learn?
Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” May it be so.