If I Had Only One Hour to Live
If you haven’t read Richard and Kristine Carlson’s book entitled, “If You Had an Hour to Live,” I highly encourage you do so. This is an inspiring book that will create an urgency with you to make some needed changes in your life. It’s not just a feel good book, it is a good book about feeling life in a new way. It causes you to give pause and to rethink why you are doing what you are doing. For me, it served as a simple reminder that life is but a vapor and we must live our lives on purpose every day.
What a joy it has been to relish Baby Shafer and his newfound energy since transplant! We are simply amazed at how much better he feels and his daily routine proves that you must be in pretty good shape to keep up with him. All of a sudden he seems like such a BIG boy. He shows so many more emotions now. Literally, everything has taken on a new sense of beauty—pee-pee diapers, stinky feet, and even temper tantrums. This is the stuff life is made of.
If you’re waiting for things to be perfect or fixed or better or modified from your existing state before you really experience contentment, it will never come. Our humanity will never be satisfied…it’s always another problem or mountain to climb. It’s like trying to get Shafer to stop eating M&M’s (or Emmies as he calls them) after only 3 or 4. No, he screams for more and I reluctantly give in and refill his cup until moments later he starts the cycle all over again. He will not reach a point of satisfaction even after consuming an entire pack. I have to finally stop the vicious cycle and redirect him to healthier choices, even though it is coupled with kicking and him saying repeatedly, “Mad…mad.”
Unlike a baby, we as adults have the control to put a halt to bad choices and get ourselves in better shape physically, psychologically, and spiritually. But, it takes a new code of discipline to adapt to new behaviors…and time to wait on the Lord to mold us into what He wants for our lives.
The journey we’ve been on the last 21 months has taught me many things. Most importantly it has shown me that I need to spend more time “being” instead of “doing.” Learning to rest in the Lord even in the midst of tremendous difficulty and challenges is a tall order, but with help from above, can be life-changing.
I now think so differently than before. It’s as if I’ve had eye surgery and new lenses have been implanted. I see the world entirely from an alternative view—a better view—than before. My life goals are entirely focused on relationships now…not accomplishments from works. I listen more intently, am slower to speak, and take life as it comes. I fully realize that I have absolutely no control over anything—God is completely sovereign and will not put more on us than we can handle. He will and does work all things for His good, even when I want to put my hands over my ears and scream, “I am very familiar with the verse, please don’t quote it to me for the umpteenth time,” as my dear Christian friends and family members try to comfort me with these words.
I am learning more and more about being fully present. Living in the now has always been difficult for me as a Type A all the way personality. But, God is slowly growing me up in this process. And He has used my children to assist me the most in this area. My firstborn is entering 5th grade and it seems like yesterday she changed our family forever with her arrival. The realization of the brevity of time we really have with Shayli and our other four children has caused me to wake from my slumber. You and I have got to be in the moment with the blessings God has entrusted to us. Every conversation, every meal, every field trip, every bedtime story and prayer, every kiss, and every anything has got to take on a new and fresh meaning in our lives. The dishes and laundry can wait, work projects can delay an hour or so, and I promise you the news will be the same in just a few hours. You can catch up after they go to bed or whisk away with their friends…but for now, stop and relish every possible precious moment by unplugging technologically and plugging in tangibly to your children.
Life is to be lived, not dreaded. The good, the bad, the hard, the sad, the playful, and the serious all have a vital role in the big picture. And we’re finding that the hardest parts of our lives can yield the greatest lessons…
My challenge for each person reading this blog is to take a moment to apply the brakes to your life. Somehow pull yourself away from the craziness of your family, work, and other responsibilities to “Be Still” and let the Lord breathe a fresh spirit within you. Relax in knowing that God is God and regardless of your present circumstances, He has not forgotten or forsaken you. Then, ask for His divine direction on how you need to adjust or readjust your life to align with His purpose for the remainder of your days. Then, make a commitment to live as if you only had an hour left…
All God’s best to you and your family,