Friday, August 23, 2013

The Quality of Life

It is very hard to accept an early death.  When friends die who are seventy, eighty, or ninety years old, we may be in deep grief and miss them very much, but we are grateful that they had long lives.  But when a teenager, a young adult, or a person at the height of his or her career dies, we feel a protest rising from our hearts:  "Why?  Why so soon?  Why so young?  It is unfair."

But far more important than our quantity of years is the quality of our lives.  Jesus died young.  St. Francis died young.  St. Thérèse of Lisieux died young, Martin Luther King, Jr., died young.  We do not know how long we will live, but this not knowing calls us to live every day, every week, every year of our lives to its fullest potential.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

This is what I read this morning.  This is what I have been thinking about all day.  A little over five years ago, my sister was alive, my husband was alive, my friend Ingrid was alive and kicking!  Today they are gone.  There is no choice to be made about the quality of life or how long they have on this earth or whether they lived a life without regret.  It's over for them.  What is done is done.  But I am here today.  If you are reading this, then you are still alive.  We have time to make choices and embrace life....but like them, we don't know the when of our death, so if we are going to live our life to the fullest potential, we had better begin today.

Embracing God is a good first step.  Asking Him how to maximize our time on earth is a good second.
Balance and moderation in all things, sounds like a good idea too.

Living life to its fullest potential does not mean cramming everything you can into every minute---that is just being busy.

Living life means taking time for friends and family and yourself.  Living life means spending time with God in quiet meditation and serving God by helping others.  Living life means feeling gratitude and living your passion.  Living life is always more that just surviving.

I think it would be hard to be "ready"  to die.  I have been around death enough not to fear it anymore but at sixty two, I have just learned what it is to truly live life  Many prayers of mine go something like this:  "God, I know it is your decision when I leave this earth but please, please let me have enough time to fully embrace my existence.  I want to really live my earthly life to it's fullest potential. Now that I have the opportunity, please allow me plenty of time."And as with all my prayers, I end saying, "not my will, but thine be done."

The human part of me has to ask God for this blessing.  The spiritual part of me knows that all I have for sure is this very moment so make the best of it....really the best!   When it boils right done to it, this is it--the present moment.  What am I doing to embrace this gift?  (What are you doing?)

I don't have tomorrow to fix things...I just have now.  I can't do it all now, but I can begin and take the steps to do what I want to do and go where I want to go....i can embrace the moment and enjoy a positive quality of life.  I can embrace the moment to be with God and then the quality of my life will be taken care of--- and death will take care of itself.

It is all about choices.  The quality of our lives is the result of our choices.  Look around and see if you have made good choices.  If you are like me, some choices weren't the best but I know now that I can still turn my life around.

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