© photo by michelle bryant
When I was about sixteen a friend of mine was found by his five-year-old sister hanged from his ceiling after having a fight with his mother. Too brilliant for the ninth grade he’d been promoted to the eleventh, presumably misunderstood by most everyone I suppose he’d just given up. Just recently a lady I know in her early fifties lost her battle with Hepatitis C after being in remission for many years. Another good friend of mine lost his mother before her time to cancer. Suddenly tired all the time she went to the doctor and was told her she had about six months to live, three weeks later she was gone forever. A family I know of fights to keep their minor son out of prison for accidentally shooting and killing his best friend. Even though this child is ridden with his own guilt, nightmares and remorse at the loss of his comrade the deceased child’s parents want justice and there is no mercy in their hearts for the young man. Although these situations are tragic the stories have all affected the way I view life. I am sure you have some heart wrenching circumstances in your world as well. We all do and nothing can prepare us for them.
But have you ever had a “close call?” You know, one of those moments where you really stop and realize you are actually breathing, seeing… alive? I have. Actually, I’ve had a few. One that particularly stands out was a cold February morning when I skidded on the icy four lane divide highway about thirty feet on the roof of my van until I flipped into oncoming, rush-hour traffic while taking my two children to school. Upon arrival, the paramedics thought we were dead by the condition of my vehicle. I heard them say, “they’re alive, they’re alive!” as my 13 year old son, hanging upside down from his seat, wiped away the snow from his arm and the crashed in window. As I sit here reflecting, I think perhaps the “close calls” in our lives should be renamed “wake up calls.”
There is a book on the market that comes to my mind about a man who was headed to his hotel from a conference and died instantly in a car crash. That is precisely what happened to him. Here one minute, gone the next. Ninety minutes later he got another chance- a wake up call if you will. He’s never looked back and never looked at life the same.
Psalm 39:4-5 tells us just how precious life is and how short our days are. “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Selah* (*The word Selah at the end is there to tell us to “pause”, “reflect” “weigh carefully” what is being said, that it is of great importance that the reader understands its significance).
How often do we take our day for granted? We wake up every morning and open our eyes and put our feet on the floor like it is no big deal? But truly it is. We have been blessed with a gift – the gift of life for another day. So, what are we going to do with that gift? I encourage you to cherish it. Ask God whom you can bless with it today and how. Is there someone you are upset with? Imagine if they only had two days to live. Would you put aside your differences and hug them? Swallow your pride? Make amends? Imagine if this was your last day on earth, what is the legacy you would leave behind? What you would do differently? Think of the lives you might change and then do it. You never know- you may be driving home today and never make it. Today really is the first day of the rest of your life so – make today your best day ever.
© michelle bryant