For one moment last month, I thought I was going to die.
And now that you probably have a vision of me flipping a car or falling off a roof, I must admit it was nothing so dramatic. I was struggling to breathe, choking on a bite of food I’d hoped would give me the energy I needed before I dashed out again for a job interview. Nonetheless, when the Heimlich maneuver didn’t work for the second time and I feared making the problem worse, a thought came like a whisper: is this it?
And I was surprised.
In that instant, I saw my age as if on a number chart, contrasted against the years I would not live. And it did not seem real that this could be the end—there had been no warning, it was so unlike the way it was “supposed to be” (whatever that means), and I had so much yet to do!
Fortunately—and, well, rather obviously—it was not the end. But even though I write to you now from the comfort of my office, my coffee and heater nearby as I watch the snow fall, I am just as close to the end as I thought I was that day. Actually closer, in fact.
(Nice happy thought for the first blog post of the year, right?)
Okay, I want to be real. I think about life and the next life a lot. I often long for my eternal home. And because my soul is secure in Christ’s hands, I do not fear death. But I now see I do fear dying.
Specifically, I fear dying and having nothing to show for my life. Dying and having people not know how much they mean to me. But perhaps most of all, I fear dying and having never truly lived.
“Lord, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am” (Psalm 39:4 NASB).
Thanks to my little mishap and a recent message from my pastor, I see I’ve looked at life from the wrong end. My formula for getting through life looks like a line moving in a doodle from Point A to B, with the only intention being that it doesn’t reach B before the ink starts to run out.
What if the only way to live is with the end in mind? A straight line that runs right past Point B and into infinity. Because infinity is the end.
No matter how sudden or unwelcome it is when it comes, death is not the end for anyone. It’s a doorway to eternity. For me, as a believer, heaven is the end—the end destination, that is.
You can likely imagine how it felt to draw a full breath again. (And how the interview seemed a mite less daunting!) Though I was more than glad at the prospect of another tomorrow, perhaps that’s not all I should look toward anymore. If I want this life to count, I believe it’s time I prepare for eternity and not expect tomorrow.
Lord, help me to lift my eyes from the here and now, the constant striving after the wind. Help me to remember that this isn’t a race to find satisfaction and happiness before this life is over. Guide me everyday to live a fulfilled life in You.