I can’t think of a way to ease into this, so I am going to just dig right in.
If we will admit it, even as Christians, most of us look at death as something morbid. We don’t like to talk about it, read about it, or even think about it. And if you are reaching for your keyboard to move on to something else, there is a good chance you are one of those people. But please stay with me for a little bit longer. (After all, the title is about living life to the fullest.)
Having someone close to us die, causes us to think and live differently. We realize how fragile life is, and we want to make the most of it. At least for a while.
But then busyness sets in, and most of us eventually find ourselves right back in the ho-hum daily grind of life that we are used to. (Just look at how our quickly our nation swung back into that after 9-11.)
Our culture has done a good job of keeping death away from us in a way that makes us not fully realize it is part of life. As Ray Edwards put it, “As a society, we have managed to sanitize death. To hide it and make sure it happens in hospital rooms. Then the body is covered with a sheet, and furtively moved to the basement. Gone are the days when we faced death fully, with eyes wide open.”
When we are fully aware that we will all die and are not afraid to read about it, talk about it, even meditate on it, it awakens us to live a fuller life, which brings more peace, more contentment and more joy.
I believe that is because it is allowing the Holy Spirit to shed His light into a dark closet of our hearts that we didn’t want opened. And now the light is flooding in and it becomes a blessing in our lives because of the tormenting fear that has been removed and the freedom it brings.
I was recently made aware of the Latin phrase “memento mori.” It means, “Remember you will die.” Ray had that tattooed on his forearm as a reminder to live life in the now, because that is all we have. We don’t have yesterday, and we don’t have tomorrow. We don’t even have five minutes from now. We each have the exact moment we are in. (Ray also is living with Parkinson’s and he refuses to just give in, missing out on what life still has to offer. He is living life to the fullest as much as possible as his disease progresses and does in a month more than most of us will do in a year.)
Death can either be something we try to avoid that the enemy can use in our lives, or it can be what God says it is, a transfer to a different home, and be a tool the Holy Spirit can use to learn how to live in His presence now, instead of waiting for that transfer.
I am not going for a tattoo as a reminder, but I have written myself a note and placed it where I will see it every night before heading to bed that says, “Did I live today fully alive and to its fullest potential?” This is in hopes that during the day as I make choices for my time, and even sitting alone with my thoughts, that I will do so, knowing I want to be able to answer this question with a resounding “Yes, I did!” at the end of every day.
I know that will look differently for each of us, and even change for each of us in the different seasons of life. But whatever season you and I are in, even if it is a season of deep grief, I pray we will be able to do so in a way that gives life.
How about you? What are you doing to remind yourself that we all will die, and therefore each day, each moment, to LIVE? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Laura Diehl is an award-winning author, national speaker and singer. She and her husband, Dave, are the founders of Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope). Dave and Laura travel full time in their Hope Mobile (a 38-foot motor home) to be more easily available for speaking and ministry requests.
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