What Will Matter…On The Day You Die?

Have You Ever Done This?

I sat in a room full of moms this weekend; really caring, present, concerned and tired moms.  One of the most disquieting things they worry about as a parent is the fact that their young children are anxious.  A few of them have ten and eleven-year-olds who are so distressed about how they look; compared to others.  What their grades are; compared to others.  If they are preparing enough to be accepted into the best college; compared to others.   If they get enough LIKES on social media; compared to others.  And, the list goes on.  As I sat there and listened to these beautiful women describe the ripple effect of their fretful children, I began to wonder about a few things.

I Wonder…

I wonder how many of us are so busy being busy that we miss out on the juiciness of life.  How many of us are so engaged in ‘planning’ our life instead of actually living it?  Does a calendar rule your life, or do you direct your calendar in a life-giving way?  How many of us are exhausting ourselves as we chase the ‘oh so important material things’?  Do you get hung up on what someone thinks of you?  Do you have to win every argument?   Are you addicted to texting, and Facebook, and SnapChat, and Instagram and everything else your gadget does to distract you?  Do you stand in front of a mirror each day and pick apart every inch of your body with disdainful self-talk?  Do you worry about how people view you?  Are your relationships falling apart as you are climbing some made up ‘corporate ladder’?  Is your nightly slumber interrupted by a racing mind?  Are you being present with your kids; your spouse; your friends?  I mean sit down and look at them in the eyes and have a meaningful conversation or are you standing in the same room sending them a text?

And Then This Came To Me…

Later in the day, I came across this piece of writing by John Pavlovitz.  Here is what it said:

On The Day I Die

On the day I die a lot will happen.

A lot will change.
The world will be busy.  On the day I die, all the important appointments I made will be left unattended.
The many plans I had yet to complete will remain forever undone.
The calendar that ruled so many of my days will now be irrelevant to me.
All the material things I so chased and guarded and treasured will be left in the hands of others to care for or to discard.  
The words of my critics which so burdened me will cease to sting or capture anymore.   They will be unable to touch me.
The arguments I believed I’d won here will not serve me or bring me any satisfaction or solace.
All my noisy incoming notifications and texts and calls will go unanswered.  Their great urgency will be quieted.  My many nagging regrets will all be resigned to the past, where they should have always been anyway.
Every superficial worry about my body that I ever labored over; about my waistline or hairline or frown lines, will fade away.
My carefully crafted image, the one I worked so hard to shape for others here, will be left to them to complete anyway.
The sterling reputation I once struggled so greatly to maintain will be of little concern for me anymore.  All the small and large anxieties that stole sleep from me each night will be rendered powerless.
The deep and towering mysteries of life and death that so consumed my mind will finally be clarified in a way that they could never be before while I lived.
These things will certainly all be true on the day that I die.Yet for as much as will happen on that day, one more thing that will happen.
On the day I die, the few people who really know and truly love me will grieve deeply.
They will feel a void.
They will feel cheated.
They will not feel ready.
They will feel as though a part of them has died as well.
And on that day, more than anything in the world they will want more time with me.
I know this from those I love and grieve over.And so knowing this, while I am still alive I’ll try to remember that my time with them is finite and fleeting and so very precious—and I’ll do my best not to waste a second of it.

I’ll try not to squander a priceless moment worrying about all the other things that will happen on the day I die because many of those things are either not my concern or beyond my control.

Friends, those other things have an insidious way of keeping you from living even as you live; vying for your attention, competing for your affections.
They rob you of the joy of this unrepeatable, uncontainable, ever-evaporating Now with those who love you and want only to share it with you.

Don’t miss the chance to dance with them while you can.
It’s easy to waste so much daylight in the days before you die.
Don’t let your life be stolen every day by all that you believe matters because, on the day you die, much of it simply won’t.

Yes, you and I will die one day.
But before that day comes: let us live

My Invitation To You

Reading this allowed me to stop and think and consider the wisdom in the words.  I will read it often as I have embraced it as an unapologetic reminder of what is really important in life.  I invite you to do the same.

Stay true and be you —

Annie

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