Occasionally while driving, I have been faced with the need to abruptly apply the breaks to prevent a calamity. More often, I have time to come to a complete stop in a slower, more controlled manner. For reasons unknown to me, God is affording me time to plan and prepare for my exit from this world with a heart full of gratitude to Him for so many blessings.
We’ve had friends with no previously identified health issues who were suddenly taken without warning. I’m thinking of three individuals—two were women—one had two young children, the other had two young adult daughters. The third was a hard-working, loving husband and doting father of four daughters—one still an infant. In each case, these wonderful people were snatched away in their prime. Friends and family were in total shock and disbelief.
A wonderfully astute and affirming friend who once taught my Gregg Shorthand class at Pasadena High School was soon approaching her hundredth year. During a memorable phone conversation about five years ago, she remarked, “Leslie, all of my contemporaries are gone.” Her statement caused me pause . . . I still have friends who care. What would it be like if all my friends were gone? It brought me face to face with how quickly time passes.
Even though I realize life is fragile and brief, it never occurred to me that mine could be cut short due to a progressive, degenerative disease. At times it seems as though I’m peering down on my life from above . . . like it’s not really me who has been diagnosed with a serious illness. The only word that fits is . . . surreal.
These verses from the New Testament book of James have helped guide my life. Perhaps they will speak to you, too.
James 4:13-16 (Living Bible)
Look here, you people who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to such and such a town, stay there a year, and open up a profitable business.” How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog—now you see it; soon it is gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we shall live and do this or that.” Otherwise you will be bragging about your own plans, and such self-confidence never pleases God.
Reportedly once seen on a graveyard headstone . . .