My husband and I had a conversation this week that revealed within both our hearts is the desire to live life to the fullest now.
We have both suffered great loss within the past year and a half. His dear wife died at the age of 47, and my precious daughter at the age of 25. The brevity of life is "fresh" to us now. The certainty of eternity lingers in the air.
We are no doubt reflective, but with that in mind, we have made some changes to the way we live. "Stuff and things" simply do not matter. We both have been through lengthy and prolonged stressful lives - no whine, just fact. Plus, we had already had made the decision to place major emphasis on the people in our lives, not our careers or stuff. However, with new determination, we are striving to live now. We are simplifying and getting rid of stuff that does not matter, and focusing on what does matter.
For instance, all those sentimental things I was "saving up" for my daughter when she married - my great-grandmother's and her great-great grandmother's china and things - are coming out of the cabinet. The candy dish belonging to great-grandmother came out of the cabinet this week and now holds Easter jelly beans sent to me thoughtfully by Kristin's best friend, Alli. Kristin had got her "hooked" on them, too. She didn't know that every time I passed Starburst jelly beans in Walmart I cried and would not break down and buy them because Kristin loved them so.
Jamie and I feel as if we have been propelled into our mother's generation as we watch as they are simplifying their lives, too. As I've mentioned before, the song "Live Like You're Dying" is good; but I prefer "Love like you're dying" to it any day. Maybe I'll write that one.
Simplifying our lives does not mean morbid preoccupation with death, but rather greater appreciation for life. I can't stress enough that we need to hug our kids everyday. Look our spouses and children in the eyes while they talk, and be "all there." Love like we are dying is more than just making sure our life insurance is up to date. It's loving those people in our lives like there's no tomorrow.
I love the essay titled "If I had My Life to Live Over" written by the late Erma Bombeck after she found out she had a fatal disease. In it, she talks about things she would change if she could live her life over again. Most importantly, she says she would seize every minute of life.
Etched upon the monument at my late daughter, Kristin, and her daddy, Rod, is the verse: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Loving people and appreciating those in our lives is only secondary to our relationship with our father in heaven. Truly life is like a vapour, says the book of James. 4;14 - "Wheras ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
(Kimberly Morgan, MA, is a wife and mom in Elkins. She also is a counselor with Cornerstone Christian Counseling. Contact her at 304-637-1109.)