“Mom, how will I die?” Joshua, then barely five years old, asked as I was tucking him into bed. With all the honesty and confidence a startled mom could muster, I replied, “I don’t know.”
(Before you are concerned about one so young worrying about dying, just know that our family had recently held death in our hands so it was heavy on his mind.)
Snuggling even closer and not wanting to leave it at that, especially at bedtime, I continued the conversation. “You know, Josh, there’s no way you can really know how you’re going to die, but there is something more important about life that you can decide. You get to choose how you will live.”
I went on to explain how none of us usually have the choice about how we die, but the choice about how we will live is completely ours.
Will I live my life for fun and pleasure, for that which seemingly brings me a measure of happiness? Sometimes I do. Sometimes I’d rather sit and watch Survivor than do anything productive.
Sometimes I’d rather sit and stare out the window watching the chickens (now doesn’t that sound quaint) than do the work that is on my kitchen counter. Yes, sometimes I’m lazy.
Sometimes I ignore issues with my kids because addressing those things will require time and thought (and prayer!) on my part. Sometimes I pay the consequences of that choice.
Sometimes I’d rather stay at home all day, avoiding any meaningful interactions with people outside my family. Relationships with other people can get pretty messy. Sometimes.
Most of the time, though, I remember that I live my life for a higher purpose, a purpose given to me by God. So most of the time, I will push through the tedious tasks on my schedule for the day, because I choose to have joy in serving my family.
Most of the time I will realize that I’ve been watching the chickens too long and go do the dishes and even cook for my family.
Most of the time I will stop whatever I am doing to instruct or encourage one of my children. Most of the time I reap the benefits of that choice.
Most of the time I will choose to intentionally invest in the lives of others, to volunteer, to get involved with society in general, even if it gets messy. Most of the time I’m the one who is more blessed by that investment.
Death - be it by water, fire, cancer, car accident, crime victim, whatever - it’s not really up to me. But how will I live? How will you live? That is completely a choice each of us will make for ourselves.
Galatians 2.20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.