I think you will agree with me that life is fragile. We all have heard of those scenarios where a loved one or friend receives the news of a sinister disease showing up unannounced and the doctor’s candid pronouncement.
I remember one such real life scenario wrapped in an unforgettable day when my father received word that his body carried the incurable disease of Multiple Sclerosis. His routine of playing basketball, softball and participating in hunting and fishing activities came to a screeching halt. My father loved life and those who really were his life, his family. The disease which altered his ability to climb mountains, throw a wicked fast pitch softball and shoot a floating jump shot has taken this courageous person from me. However, it has not stolen the lessons learned from such a traumatic event.
I wonder if he was here what he might share with me about living life. Don’t misunderstand me, his zest for life was in no way squelched but I still must believe the conversation would be different, different in that you never know what tomorrow may bring so don’t miss an opportunity. My perception as I walk through this gift called life is, many of us are performing the duties or requirements of life but sacrificing life itself. Most of us are familiar with the cliché “Bucket List”. This is a list of life activities one records for a future completion date as time reveals to us its brevity. How would we live if the news revealed that our time on this earth was concretely drawing to a close? I can’t help but reference the Country song “Live like You Were Dying”. The song lyrics walk the listener through all the things one might do if found in this sudden position.
The word “Like” gives the impression of possibility as playing a role. I am pulled in by this life philosophy which affects the core of how we function, respond to others and the circumstances around us. We are all governed by some set of beliefs or value system. As a person of “Faith” and a “Christ Follower”, my system is governed by “Truth” and the Bible. I have always been intrigued by scriptures referencing the daily death or dying of the believer who follows Christ. The word coward doesn’t belong in any Believers vocabulary. As a result of the Cross, Jesus calls believers to take up their Crosses Daily! This speaks to me of an unselfish abandonment which accompanies our every move and decision. Our lives are not for us to govern or control. We observe fisherman called by Jesus as the first Disciples, “At once they left the fishing profession and went with Him”. They gave up the security of their only incomes to pursue the one who gives true life. I wonder if some of them weren’t a bit bored with net mending and the monotony of a daily fishing schedule. I believe in routine and self discipline, however Jesus was offering a life abandoned to Him bourgeoning with adventure, newness and self denial. I can imagine there was an organic lifestyle which canopied many activities connected with this journey with Jesus. The Disciples probably engaged in bird watching, fishing for food and other outside activities. I see the connecting link between abandonment to self motivated thinking and the relinquishing of earthly things in order to live an unscripted journey in our everyday lives. The Disciples did not take these steps without “Faith”. I would surmise there were strategic moments of preparation which brought them to a point of surrender. This is another tenet of “Dying Daily” ; complete surrender to the wishes of Christ and not our own. Some might find this restrictive or binding, quite the opposite…. Freeing!
Our unscripted journey began with moments of preparation which allowed for our faith to seize the bedrock which has held us up to this very day. I have observed the spiritual connection related to the abandonment of self and the things connected to it. I have also seen the beauty which comes from the purity of organic living. The accoutrements which most of us feel are necessary somehow lose there meaning and bathes your spirit in a cleansing which cannot be explained or defined. Dying Daily will always be accompanied by sacrifice, yet not always in the ways our human frail eyes perceive. The reinforcement that this earth is created by God has so profoundly made its point. Our entire family has imbibed the freshness of creation with each nature and landscape excursion. Kaitlyn has become a bird lover and now has a wonderful photographic collection of these feathered creatures. I see a simple, quiet and untouched flower mesmerized by the flitting of winged color. She reminds me of a sparrow and also what Jesus says about them “One does not fall to earth without me noticing”. See, we are so programmed to cling and control. There is such joy in abandoning ourselves to the “Daily Surrender”. We must give something away in order to receive. We are so prone to believe what we hold is more precious than what can be given to us. Oh yes, it is a risk and one quite worth it.
I encourage you to find a new place of abandonment, even if it is small. It doesn’t have to be relinquishing all your possessions, although you may find they don’t hold as much meaning as you thought. Our family would never trade this decision to live the simple and unencumbered lifestyle. So live Today as if it is your Last!