I found the body of a deceased mouse in our barn today. Alive and well one moment, in the feline fangs of death seconds later. Flat and gray, stretched out stiff on cold concrete, there he lay.
Did the mouse think about how fragile life is before it was caught?
Do we realize that at any moment, our life breath can be snuffed out and we will leave all we know, all we love, in an instant?
What if we lived like we were dying—today?
Because we are dying, really. Every one of us, from the moment we are born, we are dying—progressing to our finish, whenever that may be, determined by the One who made us, even if we don’t believe.
And if I were to die today?
How would I live?
I would love life more, just as it is. I would embrace love more, all those around me. I would focus on the important and let go of the trivial. I would savor joy and wonder found in all things, great and small.
I would not waste time because there would be no time to waste.
And I would give radically of all God has given me—time, talents, money, possessions. I would become thoroughly generous to bless all I could before I left for good.
I would let go of trying to change people or even convert people. But I would not be shy about sharing Jesus—the Way, the Truth, the Life—because I would not be concerned about what anyone thinks about me. I would tell all what a walk with Jesus has done for me—all the miracles—right here, right now—imperfect though I still am.
I wouldn’t dive into my bucket list of places to visit. I would stay put, right where I’m placed, unless God moved me out—and I would serve more—right where I am. I would pour myself out like an offering because my life literally would be pouring out fast before me.
I would live on what I need and give all the rest away, investing in the wisest way possible, following my husband’s lead who understands how to maximize resources to bring about greatest good.
And most of all, I would take seriously the state of my heart . . .
Would I hold onto grudges, nursing them like a babe, till they got big and fat and ugly? Suddenly, there would be no time for that—no sense in that.
Would I let go and forgive, loving my enemies by praying for them, pleading for mercy and goodness to shower them? Because those who do evil are showing their desperate need for God and their behavior is really not about ME, most of the time.
Would I keep complaining about the specks in others’ eyes but pray to have my own planks removed so I could see clearly in my last earthly moments that those who cause irritation are always mirrors, reflecting some aspect of ME, even possibly, because of my imperfect humanity? Would I give more grace so we all might leap a little higher and FLY—even if for a few moments here in this life?
And would I let go of having to have things MY way and having to have people hear (and agree) with MY opinions? Would I really listen for the seeds of truth and dig for the love in others that often lies just below their crusty surfaces, hardened because of harsh life circumstances they’ve weathered?
Could I—would I—focus so much on God—His truth and His love—in every minute—that these two—truth and love—would be all that come gushing out of this vessel, cracked that I am?
I love this vision of me.
And I realize it is a possibility, even today—if Christ is my vision.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Words: Dallan Forgail (8th Century)