One evening, as my wife and I lay in bed reading (in her case, playing a word game on her Kindle Fire™), I had a profound revelation. It was something that had truly never occurred to me before. Then, burdened with a hitherto unknown morsel of knowledge, I found that the need to share it was . . . well . . . overwhelming! So, I turned to Becky and, with a completely straight face, said: “You know how careful we are about what we eat, and how we try to drink responsibly, and take great pains to exercise regularly . . .”
“Yeah,” replied Becky with a yawn.
“. . . and how we always get our ‘wellness physical’ every year like clockwork . . .”
“Uh huh. (Just a hint of genuine curiosity had crept into her voice.) So what about it?”
“. . . W-e-l-l-l . . . it just occurred to me that no matter how conscientious we are, no matter how much we take care of ourselves, when all is said and done—it’s still going to end badly.” (I paused a moment, and waited patiently for the weight of my words to be fully processed.) “So whatta ya think?”
Becky dropped her tablet and sat up straight against the headboard. “Gee, I never thought about it like that. That’s kind of depressing, don’t you think?”
“Actually, I think it’s kind of amazing,” I smiled.
“In what way?”
“Well, maybe we’ve got it all wrong. Instead of wasting our time and energy on . . . “
And so began an hour-long discussion about life, death, health, quality of life, and so forth. I think we both concluded that the old “eat, drink, and be merry” rule would henceforth apply. Gradually we both ate and drank (mostly ate) and gained weight. Life was great. But then things changed. First came Becky’s breast cancer (more than seven years ago), and last October, I had a stroke. Things have changed rather drastically.
Ironically, I find myself spending more and more of my time, energy—and resources in what might appear to be a futile attempt to alter what was already determined that historic evening as a foregone conclusion: we’re all going to die. I measure my food portions (using a digital scale that’s calibrated in both ounces and grams); I keep track of the number of steps I walk with a Fitbit™; and I regularly take my blood pressure readings with a sphygmomanometer (try saying that rapidly three times in a row). I dutifully drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day, and try (unsuccessfully) to get my eight hours of sleep each night. But, why?
Why do I do what I do when I know darned well that it probably won’t change a thing, and for sure won’t stop the inevitable from happening? Seems rather silly on the face of it. The answer is simple: because I like living; I like being in the physical world with my family and friends, doing silly things like playing cards, watching movies, eating great meals—and I don’t want it to end ONE SECOND sooner than it has to!
When I had my stroke back in October of 2015, I had a little chat with God as I traveled by ambulance to the hospital. I told Him that I was ready to go if he wanted to take me, but that I would really like to stay here on Earth a little longer—perhaps long enough to see my new granddaughter walk, or maybe talk, or maybe start school, or maybe . . . well, you get the picture. I acknowledged that whatever He wanted to do was fine with me (after all, He’s in charge). But I also assured Him that whatever happened to me down the road would only happen because He wanted it to and NOT because I didn’t do what I needed to on my end. And that’s how we left it.
So far, so good (thank God!)
Peace, love and happiness to you all.
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