Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Caregiver Chronicles: The Difference Between Living and Dying

"Well, it don't seem like this dying is working out too well for me. I've decided I might as well work on living for a while," Sam announced one morning.

"What do you mean, Sam?" I asked.

"You know. When I got with them hostage people, I thought I was dying, but I'm still here."

"We're all dying, Sam. It's just not your time yet."

"I want you to tell me when it gets close, okay?"

"Sam,you're 87 years old and in poor health. Dying is closer than it's ever been for you. I'd say it's pretty close."

He leaned back on his pillows. "Okay then. That's what I wanted to know."

"I don't think dying is on the agenda for today, though."

"Good. I might as well live, then." 

Unless the Lord comes back for us, we're all going to die. That's certain. The longer we live, the closer we are to that day. 

Sam understands that truth, but, when he was first placed on hospice care, he struggled with the idea that death was closer than he'd realized. He didn't feel well, and eating seemed more trouble than it was worth. No amount of cajoling could change his mind.

When he decided to try living again, he did it with a new attitude. He started eating more, sitting up in his chair, talking with visitors, listening to music, playing with the dogs.

His medical problems were the same as ever. The only thing that changed was his attitude. 

Sam has an attitude of life now, and it's transformed his days. He's enjoying the time he has left. Joking. Laughing. Smiling. 

If we're honest, it's easy to adopt an attitude of dying instead of an attitude of living. If we have an attitude of dying, we begin to ask ourselves, "What difference will it make?" about what we eat, about the things we say, about the actions we take. All we focus on is how we feel in the moment and what "feels good" right then. 

It's a very selfish existence. 

If we're focused on living, we pursue life. We cherish the people in our lives. We care for our bodies. We exercise, eat right, make healthy choices in lifestyle. We count our blessings as more than our problems. We try to make a difference. 

It's an outward-facing existence.

We don't have to be dying to live like we are. All we have to do is stop pursuing life. Stop investing ourselves in the world around us. 

Jesus gave us two commands that sum up how we're to live. Love God. Love others. Neither of those are inward-facing. Neither of those expire until the day we die. We're to keep loving God and others until our very last breath.

Today, let's take a close look at our own lives. Are we focused on living or dying?   No matter how close we are to the end of our days, we can still live life to the fullest, every day we have left. 

It's pretty simple, really. Just love, then let our love direct our actions. 

This day, let's love God with every fiber of our being. This day, let's love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. Then, keep doing it. Every day until He calls us home.

"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Psalm 139"16 NLT
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Working From Home and Missing the Office 

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