Yeah, yeah… You’ve heard it before. In fact, it’s almost become cliche’. “We don’t have the promise of tomorrow” or “You never know which breath will be your last” or any of a number of other phrases intended to inspire us to live life like it ought to be lived.
Truth be told though, they don’t. At least not for me anyway. It’s too easy for the weight of those words to sink past relevance and slip right on into vagueness. I mean, really? No promise of tomorrow?
This whole thought tangent started as I listened to the well-meaning lyrics of a song on the radio. The artist claims that if they had one last breath, they’d give it to Christ. Or if they only had one more song, they’d sing it for Him. One more prayer, they’d pray it… You get the picture.
The fact is, I would too. And it’d be easy. If I knew I only had one breath left, of course I’d use if to confess Christ and ask to spend eternity with Him. Wouldn’t you? I mean, why not? What’s to lose? It’s your last breath anyway.
The same thing goes for any other cause or movement or ideal that we believe in. Of course we’d pledge our “last breath” if we knew when that was. “If this were my last day on earth, I’d spend it being nice to everyone.” Or, “If this were my last day, I’d spend it telling everyone how much I love them”… Or feeding the hungry, or helping the helpless, or clothing the naked, or encouraging the down-and-out, or speaking hope into broken life. EASY! Your last day is a one-time gig.
I think the real issue isn’t the last breath, it’s all the times we breathe between now and then. Because even though we don’t have any promise of tomorrow, we sure as heck act like we do. Or at least I do.
I go through most days focused on what’s going on “tomorrow”. Through every stage of my life, I — at least to some degree — spend it anticipating the greener grass that is the next stage.
I could argue that there is a positive element to this way of living. That anticipation and dreams and goals are what drive us to become better, more successful people; and I’d be right. But not if those things inhibit our ability to live life right where we’re at.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, let’s stop this insane thinking that we can get by calling ourselves advocates of whatever cause we choose just by pledging our “last breaths”. Let’s live life – each breath, each day – speaking what we know to be truth. In my case that truth (at its core) is two-fold.
First, in as simple of terms as I can manage, I believe that the Creator of this universe knows me by name, and that he loves me and you with reckless abandon. So much so that he sacrificed his own life so that we could spend eternity with him rather than pay the consequences of our shortcomings. Pretty big deal.
Second, I believe that life is meant to be lived with other people. That the Creator intended this part of our journey to be spent together. I realize, like everyone that experiences this human condition, that life sucks sometimes. That things happen that we don’t understand, and that things don’t always turn out the way we’d intended. But I believe that these times are easier when we find ourselves surrounded with other people that understand this and that can offer support and encouragement.
So this is me attempting to spend a breath between the one I took as I started writing and the last one I’ll ever take speaking truth. My challenge to you will come as a question: How will you spend the moments between this one and your last?