Seventeen years ago I was given a gift that very few people ever get to experience. When I tell you what this gift is you are going to think at first that it wasn’t a gift at all. But when I share with you some of the things it has given me, maybe it can be a gift to you as well.
So seventeen years ago, of which I cannot even believe it’s been that long, I was in a car accident that not only left me disabled but I also died after my third surgery. Many of you have heard my story of how I miraculously recovered. But today I want to focus on the gift of dying before your time and coming back.
Now I don’t know what your beliefs are about living after life. I suppose for me death isn’t a fearful thing or something I wonder about because I have already experienced it. I know what is on the other side because I have been there, it isn’t something I just believe because someone told me but it has been my reality.
The reason this was such an amazing gift to me, is that when I was given a second chance I realized I was immortal and I could die at any moment. I wouldn’t have verbalized it to you back then, but there was a part of me that didn’t think I would die young. I didn’t think that my life would end until I was very old and I don’t think that most people think their lives will end either. I think in fact that most people find themselves in that place unexpectedly.
But I was given the rare opportunity, to get the chance to be truly faced with the temporary reality of life. I was able to look at the life I had lived up until that point and I was able to see just how valuable each day was. In fact, I remember during my recovery when I had lost so much blood I couldn’t do anything but one task a day. I would look at the window and dream about going back to the job I complained about previously. I would think about how I would pay money just to be able to do to work.
At first I tried to make every day like it literally was my last. I found this impossible because not every day is that simple. Some of our days are complex and overrun by outside circumstances. We don’t always have that kind of liberty. But I could make every day count!
There are some people that work really hard because they are just into working, maybe they want to make a lot of money, maybe they feel by doing what they do they are gaining some sort of eternal reward, maybe they are creating a legacy that will stick around after they are gone. Most people I think just live by default, take what has been handed to them and never really think about how precious life is until it’s too late.
If I were to write about everything I find the most meaningful in this blog today, it would probably go on for a very long time. There are many very precious things in life. I often think about how I want to be remembered, who I want to become, but mostly I think about how much I have been able to positively impact the lives of other people. To me, that is what making life meaningful is when I wake up every day.
Yes, I am a very spiritual person and I believe my relationship with Jesus gives me meaning. But it is what I give to others that makes my life meaningful. Some of us can be so spiritual that we want to continue to focus inward on our meaningfulness through connection with our God yet we forget what makes our lives meaningful and what we will be accountable for when it ends.
Nobody is going to ask you how did you become meaningful, but they will ask how did you create meaning.
So don’t wait for one day when you think you will have time to do the things you dream about. I realize that some of your dreams may take money to accomplish, but if you don’t make a plan for them you will find yourself at the end of your life with nothing but “one day I will” on your lips.
We only get one chance at this life, time goes by faster than we would like, yet how many days go by that we delay creating a meaningful life?
I have a list I keep that I add to continually of all the things I want to do, accomplish, places I want to go, things I want to buy, people I want to meet, and experiences I want to have. This hasn’t always been easy to do because life is often filled with disappointments. But the good news about trying and failing is that no matter what the outcome if you created an outcome you didn’t really fail…you achieved an outcome so in essence you just need a new strategy.
I not only have a list, but I create actions I do every week to fulfill that list. We only have right now, today and we will always only have this very moment. If that is true we have to create in this moment the things that when combined create the life we have dreamt we would live.
Sometimes it is not about having a perfect day, but a day that you have invested in the areas that are important to you. I find that most people haven’t taken the time to figure out what is important to them, and if they died tomorrow what they had wished they had done today.
So this gift that was given to me, that made me realize my life could end at any moment or I could live well into my 100s, made me realize how valuable time is. We don’t have a lot of time to waste in order to really live.
So my question to you today is if you wanted to REALLY live, if you wanted to do or be that one thing that you dreamt to be or do, if you only had a week, month or a day left what decision would you make right now? Dreams are not for tomorrow, they are for today. Bring them into your present and not only live as if they already are but create them every day.