Hospitals, Hope and Heaven

HospitalA close relative had an unexpected accident and was taken  to the hospital the other day. She is elderly but her latest trip to Untold Stories of the E.R. was certainly not planned. Thankfully she survived but as is often the case, her life (and ours to some degree) will again change significantly.

Several days of waiting and watching left me again wondering about a number of things that maybe you have pondered of late as well. Some I can answer, others I cannot. So for a few minutes I want to just throw out a few questions, thoughts or perspectives that were at least made prominent the past 72 hours.

For example, life does not seem very fair or gracious when people are near the end of life. Our relative thankfully did not die during this recent episode but it was clear that there were for her times of fear, feeling out of control and panic. It appears that while God may be there to meet us in Heaven we will likely feel very alone walking through that next door to meet him. No one from this life goes with us.

Second, we probably should say what we want to say if we haven’t said it already. Life can end quickly. We and those we love won’t necessarily have one more day, meal or even breath. So we would be wise to speak love, care and thankfulness to those who mean the most to us. And we should do it NOW.

Hospitals remind us that the ability to communicate what we think and feel can often be stolen from us for a time or for forever. Most people feel regret when they never got the chance to speak life into another person. Don’t be one of them if you can help it.

Third, this life can be great but will never be enough. When loved ones experience the actual loss of a mother, father, dad, son, grandma, grandpa they naturally long for just one more day, one more moment, one more opportunity to say what they wanted to say to them. It doesn’t matter how long we had, we want more.

So, doesn’t that suggest that we need to have as many those moments now as possible? I think so. If we’ll never have enough, then we ought to fill our personal tank as full as possible before those special people are gone.

Yes, hospitals may be the end of the line for some relationships, only a stopover for others.  Either way, let your next visit remind you, too, that now might be the best time for saying and doing those loving things you always thought you’d get to someday.

Don’t leave them in the future.

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The Good Life Is Highly Overrated

goodlife

Have you ever been taking a few days of unexpected leisure, enjoying an extended vacation or living in an especially beautiful locale? If so, did anyone come up to you and say something like, “So, you’re enjoying the good life, huh?” And perhaps you responded with, “Well, yes I guess so.”

But did you ever stop and think about what made those few days, that extra week or that prime living spot the good life. Was it really good at that point but everything leading up to that moment was not so great? I doubt it. Sure, you were in a wonderful, restful or inspiring place or time of life, but I doubt if you were finally encontering a good life after years, even decades of an all bad life.

You see, I wonder if we’ve become confused about what makes life particularly good at a given juncture. Is it possible that we’re mixing up good with enjoyable, plush, a lack of formal work or activity, a limited schedule or even extra or ample resources?

For those of you from a faith background, you know what I mean when I say that I regularly hear well-meaning Christians talk about something wonderful, even miraculous happening to them and they then say, God is good. And my response, at least inwardly is, “Well, of course He is good, but He was good before your pleasant fortunes occurred. He’s good even when life seems terrible and life isn’t working as we’d hoped it would.”

So what might better represent a good life? I’m confident that there is no one set of circumstances or outcomes but I do think there are a few principles or realities worth mentioning that make life good.

Life is good when we are truly thankful for what we have. Thankfulness means that we’re not constantly wishing for more, that we can still have gratitude for the blessings all around us – family, friends, faith, a home, a job, etc. – even when other areas are a bit out of control, even desperate.

Life is good when we still see God in the world around us. We still see His majesty in creation, in life, in the fact that we can take another breath and live for another day.

Life is also good when we are growing, changing, being stretched and trying new things to become a better person. Want to really life the bad life? Quit getting better.

And life is good when we sense that we’re living out our purpose, using our gifts and sharing our resources as meager as they may seem. People who have discovered their purpose or purposes, the thing that makes them feel whole again, truly live the good life.

So if you’ve been waiting and wish for the good life, look again. It might just be the life you’ve either been living for a long time or  the one right next to you waiting for you to begin.