I’m sure you’ve read articles admonishing you to live each day as if it were your last day on earth. In that context, we are oftentimes made to feel guilty for:
- Fussing at the kids about not picking up their toys
- Focusing on keeping the house neat and clean
- Investing so much time in our jobs/careers
- Disciplining a child for getting in trouble in school
And why? Because if this is your last day to live, then none of those things really matter. That is why I say you can’t literally live every day as if it were your last. Just imagine the consequences if we stopped doing all the things mentioned above.
If I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that today was my last, I certainly wouldn’t go to work, or worry about how the house looked, or say a single negative word to anyone. I would spend my day surrounded by family and friends that I love. However, even though I realize death could come at any moment, I don’t know for certain when my “appointment with death” is.
So how are we supposed to going about our daily lives with the specter of death hanging over us? Here is what I will try to do:
- Demonstrate through words and actions the love I feel toward those who matter most to me
- Surrender my hold on any bitterness or resentment I hold toward anyone
- Treat others with kindness and respect
- Practice forgiveness toward those who have wounded me
- Not complain about the weather, my job, my coworkers, the bunion on my foot, etc.
- Be more joy filled about my life’s journey
For many years now, I have looked at time as one slice of a moment at a time. Right now, this slice of time is you reading what I have written. Now that slice is gone, and you are in holding another slice.
My goal is to drink deeply from each slice that is given me and to be present in it, not looking for or living in the next (unpromised) moment. If it is a difficult or painful moment I find myself in, I try to learn from it. If it is a happy and pleasurable moment, I rejoice in it.
We need to avoid the Epicurean approach to life – “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we may die.” That philosophy leads to a narcissistic life of excess.
Our philosophy needs to be – “Because today is all I am promised, I will focus on being more Christ-like.”