Spontaneous combustion, 80 years, and what I deserve.
Sometimes I get on my high horse. Sometimes I feel just a little bitter, cheated, and frustrated at life’s turn of events. But last Sunday as I was driving the 35ish minutes to church, I had a revelatory thought: Who promised me I would live 80 healthy years? Or 80 years at all? Where is it written that I deserve to be 27 with absolutely no health problems? What law is being broken when everything in my life isn’t perfect? Sometimes I feel a sense of entitlement, but where did that come from?
Certainly not reality.
I don’t know if this is new or not, I wasn’t here more than 27 years ago, but I think there is something built into this generation in this culture that tells us we deserve, well, everything. And while sometimes I think that gives us a healthy optimism, sometimes it makes us feel as if lacking anything is somehow our rights being denied – a mindset that doesn’t seem to be around in previous generations.
I think part of this is due to the fact that people ARE living longer, relatively healthier lives. Advances in medicine, science, and living standards have made it possible for more and more people to live through situations and sicknesses that would have been a death sentence 100 years ago. Infant mortality has decreased significantly and death itself has been sterilized so that it’s simply not something the average person has to think about.
While I don’t think we should be living in a constant fear of death, the reality is that WE ARE ALL living on borrowed time. Whether you have an illness you know about or not, whether you are old or young, whether you are ready or not, death could be right around the corner.
My goal isn’t to be morbid or discouraging, in fact, I think were I to truly grasp this concept it would be extremely liberating. The one universal truth is that everyone will die and while the things we choose to do or not do may make our time here more or less pleasant, it doesn’t really change the fact that there is coming a day when we will die. I want to make the most of my time here and be as ready as possible for what’s to come. I want to be accepting of what happens to me in this life and be thankful for the time I have here and that I have with others while they’re here.
But it’s not some “Pollyanna-ish” ignorance of pain, it’s more than just “accepting” life, because as a child of God I believe that even the “bad” things that happen have purpose, that the good is an unmerited blessing, and at the end of it all there will be peace and rest with the God I love. He makes it all worth it.
So today I’m climbing down from my high horse, with two feet firmly planted on earth and my mind fixed on heaven I can say – I’m thankful for the moments I have here, they’ll soon be over.