Waiting to Live?
Lately I have felt led to volunteer at a local Retirement Home. I have been playing piano for the retirees and then visiting with them after. Nearly every resident that I speak to seems to feel the harsh reality that end of life care can bring. The reality that there really seems to be no purpose in one’s existence coupled with the question of validity from life’s perspective. Two phrases I hear over and over are: “I’m just waiting here to die” And “My whole life, I lived my whole life, for what?”
This is something to ponder in this day and age of entitlement. So many that we encounter on a daily and weekly basis feel as if they are entitled to a certain standard of life. I often hear the words spoken to me, “It sure must be nice to have (or go, or see, or do)…” For years I would defend myself and explain how we have prioritized our money to have the thing that someone else feels it “must be nice” to have. I have explained what great savings we got on a vacation deals because of our patience and persistence in planning along with my canning our own garden food to save X dollars. I have even defended parking in handicap spaces by explaining how difficult it really can be for me sometimes without my leg. But lately, I have stopped defending myself. “Yes, it is nice to be me.” So why don’t you stop feeling sorry for yourself and be you?
Every single day we make choices that will benefit us down the road. It seems anymore that as a country we are so focused on the “here” and the “now” that we forget to look out towards the horizon. The great “deal” on that plasma TV is not a deal if you consider your credit card debt. Practicing abstinence from smoking and drinking will save you enough money for a 4-5 day vacation including airfare. Eating healthy will provide you the ability to exercise and touch your toes too. But these are choices that we do not choose. So often we choose to live in the now and sacrifice our own futures.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
There really isn’t one person that I have ever seen or talked to when referring to the scripture above about our bodies being temples of Christ and His Holy Spirit that hasn’t harbored guilt. We knowingly abuse our bodies, our homes, our bank accounts, our futures instead of setting ourselves up to make small changes one day at a time. We may be saved and going to heaven but we have an entire life here to live! God gave us very real lives and very real dreams to work towards. Even Adam and Eve were given a joyous task in the Garden before sin ever entered their minds! We are created to work towards our dreams and partner with God so that we may finish the race cheering and full of joy!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 1 Timothy 4:7-8
Since playing at the Retirement Home I also started taking piano lessons to freshen up and boost my ability for the enjoyment of others. Whenever I am looking at a new piece of music to play my sweet teacher, Christine, always recommends that before anything else I break the right hand apart from the left hand to learn the notes and the rhythm. Even after I have the piece together with both hands there are always certain parts that hang me up. She encourages me again to break it down even further in those places into beats, notes, chords. I believe that our life is like that. When we come across things that need to be conquered but seem overwhelming, why don’t we break it down into small notes? We should play one measure at a time and then one day when we put it all together it will create a sound that is not just pleasing to God, but resonates satisfaction within us.
We must start to look farther into the future than a day, week, or even a year. We must start to plan and to live our lives in a way that one day we can be proud of who we are (or were).
The choices that we make can set us up for faith or for failure. It seems we tend to find too many gray areas in our lives. We make excuses and think about things in terms of the amount of immediate gratification we receive. But it isn’t as complicated as we make it out to be. Every single thing that we do in our life will either bring Fruit or Famish; Wisdom or Foolishness; Life or Death. Graham Cooke explains in several of his lectures that there is no such thing as standing still in this life. We are always moving. We are either moving towards God or away from Him.
As I prepare to volunteer this week my heart is extended to the many that I will speak with who feel for whatever reason that their lives were spent in vain. Whatever their past contains and whatever choices they made during their life they now feel that it did not produce fruit. I wonder how I can encourage them at this place in their life. I feel even though they are at the end of their lives with no where to go and nothing to do, many of them can still make an extraordinary difference through prayer. They can make a difference by passing on nuggets of treasure (wisdom) to those of us that are young volunteers and have so much to learn as life continues for us.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
Today, I challenge you to look at your life. Look at your choices over the past few weeks. Look at where you would like to be and the things you would like to do. Ask yourself if the choices that you are making are going to bring life into the desires of your heart.
Will your dreams be reached by the way you spend your money, your time, your energy? Or will you too, one day, be bitter to the end and look back over your life with tears in your eyes and say, “I’m just waiting to die.”