Life is a vapor. It’s not given freely. It’s not an entitlement nor should it be taken for granted. It’s a privilege.
Be grateful. Give thanks every day. Be a blessing to others on your way. You don’t know what others are going through or when life will end for you. Thank God each day you rise. No matter what life looks like in your present state of mind.
Suffering takes place in our lives to mold and shape us into the person God designed us to be. Yet, to suffer is painful regardless what form it comes in. Therefore, we should not trivialize its significance or the impact it has on one’s life. Consciousness and consideration of a person’s struggle must be a daily sacrifice. Because you never know when the day will come that your life will change and you will be one… of those people.
I can remember a time in my life when I used to tell myself if I were diagnosed with a deadly disease, I would be able to handle it based on the amount of suffering I have endured. While at the same time, adopting the wrong attitude saying things like, “It is what is and what will be, will be.” I had come to a point in my life where I believed in my own “false” reality.
Unconsciously letting words come out my mouth in haste. I would openly express it this way, “We all have to die from something one day. Don’t take to heart what you can’t change.” As if that wasn’t enough, I would go on to say, “I am going to keep doing me. And whatever happens when I die let it be. It’s all a part of life.” My thoughts: “Trivial matters of death.”
But one day here recently, that all changed. After watching one of my favorite shows, Private Practice, the other night, my entire perspective took a dramatic turn to the point where it scared me. It put fear in my heart that made me rethink my position.
Two of the characters were diagnosed with cancer; both were receiving radiation treatment but one was terminally ill. I was in tears. I couldn’t help but think of myself and this nonchalant, indignant attitude I had taken towards the detriment of my own life. I cried and couldn’t sleep all night.
I woke the next day, and for a long time, I was in deep thought about life; mine in particular and really wondered how I would handle it if I were told I had cancer or any other condition that would render me terminally ill. Better yet, what would I do if the conditions I now suffer with would contribute to my demise? I didn’t know but what it caused me to do was take a different approach.
I began to do a self-evaluation. Upon reflection of my life and the decisions I made, I asked myself, “What was it that made me feel this way? What would possess me to believe it is okay, to think death is that simple or not take into account the seriousness of it. Nor was it becoming of me to take a nonchalant attitude when saying things like, “life happens and we all will die.” Again, I had to ask myself, “Why?”
I thought, maybe one of the reasons could be that my heart was hardened towards people in need, no matter how sick or damaged they seemed. I had to take a hard look at myself. Realizing I needed help. For years I found it easy to be this way…until one day…. my life changed.
So often we take things for granted when selfishly putting our needs before others. We believe when we’re well and able to take care of ourselves, we think life’s good. It’s okay. Outside of every day struggles; we believe it is normal.
Never realizing what would happen if in a split second life changed under no control of your own. And all that you had was taken away. What would life be to you that day? What if you were to lose things that mattered most to you? Things not limited but would include your strength, your sanity, your health, your worldly possessions, your self-esteem, and your dignity. How would you handle life then? It prompted me to reflect and think on these things:
Too often we go through life blindly. Never once realizing what is given to us doesn’t come free. Life is a gift but we fail to cherish it. And why some of us fail miserably at handling it.
We don’t take into account the impact failure brings until we are faced with having to deal extensively with the storm after the rain. We call it the aftermath, coupled with severe effects. At which time will have a greater impact than what we are accustomed to; our physical well-being, our mind-set, and our attitude. I know. It happened to me. My heart became hardened because of things I refused to see.
I thought I was exempt. I lived carefree. Nothing bothered me. I was insensitive to the plight of others, uncompassionate to those who suffered. And inconsiderate to many who I thought was over exaggerating the seriousness of their situation because they sought attention.
I never once thought I had a problem. I blamed it on the world and everyone else; failing to take a look in the mirror at myself. It revealed what my life showed. A person filled with emptiness and void; and cared less about others. I had become an insensitive, rude, and uncompassionate individual who spent two-thirds of a lifetime living in contempt. I lived life on a whim. Never taking seriously how my life would end.
My attitude wasn’t that great either. Thought it all was about me. I couldn’t understand why life was so unfair. Never looking outside of myself each time I focused on my circumstances and encountered despair. Although I suffered from many ailments that clearly were not my fault. I blamed the world for the hand I had been dealt.
As intelligent as I was, for the life of me, I couldn’t grasp the depth of its reality. I didn’t want to understand but instead wanted to feel sorry for myself. And I looked for pity and validation from others when seeking help. Regardless of the fact what they knew about me, I wanted them to feel sorry for me. To make matters worse, this was my mind-set too. I believed my life was doomed.
My thought process led me to believe my own “false” truth. I felt, on my own, I could endure anything. I was invincible, regardless what diagnosis the doctor would bring. I believed in myself; selfish me. I believed I would manage even in my weakest moments mentally. I failed to deny anything my mind would tell me. Although pain was my middle name, I felt I could get through anything… sinful pride. Foolish was I.
And to think, God takes care of babies and fools. God, I thank you. For leading me to the very things you needed to show me. Albeit, the journey I traveled was not easy. I made a lot of mistakes. There were too many priorities. And I took for granted the life you gave to me. Along with underestimation of death, thinking it was okay to not fret, over how I would die.
It was not until after I traveled one long and hard journey filled with agony, pain, heartbreak, disappointment, and defeat that I began to see things and people differently. My heart changed. My consciousness and mental awareness changed too. There was something else I needed to do. I needed to be held accountable for the lack of sincerity I had shown. I had to change what I had done.
God began a great work in me, revealing things outside of my “false” reality. He revealed and told me, “This is not about you, but about me.” I needed to give him glory in spite of what was taken from me; a life of luxury I thought was necessary to complete me.
It was amazing. I can’t even explain. I found purpose to live again. I found myself searching for answers to the missing pieces of the puzzle. Things began to manifest within each circumstance I faced. I would find myself meeting people in different places. That either was in the same position I was or were worse off than me. Each experience I encountered taught humility.
I began to concentrate and focus extensively on God. I started looking for the lesson to be learned. I started reading the Word every day. I would meditate. In pursuit of intimacy with Him, I wanted to know more about God. I wanted to be clear on the things he desired from me. So that I could live the life he set before me.
With my heart open wide, I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I developed genuine compassion for others with God’s help. I learned about God’s ways which taught me how to be considerate towards those in need. I cherished the relationships God sent to me.
No longer was I bound by selfish, careless thoughts of why it was necessary to live just to die. I no longer had to ask myself why. I developed a new attitude with plenty of gratitude. I found a new passion for people in pain. Not because of what I went through but because my heart changed. I became diligent in my efforts as an advocate for change.
I believed it was not fair to discount the seriousness of what others are going through. Even if on the outside they look well to you. Many of us suffer in different ways. Whether it’s mentally, physically, or spiritually we all live with some type of pain.
We should not question the suffering of others just because they look okay or because their issue may not be as serious as the next person. We must learn to be considerate of their feelings and have compassion if we profess to be Christians. We must have the love of God in our hearts as God teaches us to love one another. We must have love for all our sisters and brothers.
The road I’ve traveled taught me many things, but the thing I’m most grateful for, is I won’t ever say this again, “If I’m diagnosed, it’s not on me. It’s on you.” I won’t be insensitive to what others are going through.
Although my life isn’t what I hoped it would be. I won’t ever take life for granted or the seriousness of any condition that ails others; even me. I won’t ever be inconsiderate of the suffering of others. I will cherish life and the opportunity God has blessed me to be a part of.
We don’t know the day or the hour. It is not for us to say when. It is not in our power. We cannot predict the end. Only God determines it. We must make sure we’re ready when it comes. Our living while here on earth must be a reflection of not who we are, but what we’ve done… to please God.
I’m blessed because my experiences led me, ultimately to the purpose God prepared for me. It became the catalyst which I found God and re-established my relationship with him. And for that I am so thankful. Without God, I would be nothing. My world now revolves around him.
I realize my life must now be a reflection of the life I now live for God. For, I AM an ambassador of Christ. I will work to honor him in spite of strife. His agenda is my agenda. The spirit of the Lord is upon me. I will walk with integrity. I will live to please God through all humanity.
2 Corinthians 5:20 “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us.”
I won’t ever make the mistake and presume it is okay to be indifferent, selfish, and self-centered when it comes to others. I will have the love of God in my heart for my sisters and brothers. I will make it my goal to move myself out of the way. I will center on selflessness every day.
While it is true we all will die one day. Don’t let it take away the reason God wakes you every day. The issue must not be that we will die. But the manner in which we lived should the truth lie. Be cognizant of how you treat others and what you choose to do. For the life you choose to live will be a reflection of you. The life you live, to some degree. Could very well determine the way you will leave… this earth.
Ezekial 36:26-27 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”