Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
March 14, 2010
Life is short so remember to laugh often, live fully, and love deeply
Tommy Thompson died last week. He was 86. The last ten years of his life were among his best. At age 75 he married his childhood sweetheart and never tired of telling everyone how much he loved his Deanie. We shared with his family a joyous celebration of Tommy’s life and his faith. He was a good man who laughed often, lived fully, and loved deeply – the way life is meant to be lived.
The death of a friend is a wake-up call. It reminds us that sooner or later each of us will die. Yet despite the certainty of death, some people live without a thought for their mortality. They blissfully assume they will live to a ripe old age.
Many young adults evidently believe they will live forever judging from the way they drive. They become Jeff Gordon behind the wheel of a car, recklessly ignoring their own safety and the safety of others. Of course it may be that some are determined to live in the fast lane even if it means they will die young.
As we grow older nagging questions invade our minds. What is the purpose of life anyway? Why was I born? What really matters? What is the essential difference between a person and a dog? Those who grapple with such questions may discover the true meaning of life.
Life means very little to some people. They have isolated themselves from others. Friends are few because they care about no one but themselves. They seem content with soup and soaps; the “people” they know best are television characters. Day after dragging day brings little joy as they wait for death’s knock on the door.
Others are on the move, racing here and there, buying and selling, building and expanding, consuming and hoarding, and fighting to survive. They treasure the latest electronic gadgets. They use people, step on people, run over people, while struggling to realize the American dream. Their goal is to have “the best” of everything: the best car, the best house, the best boat, the best motor home, the best lake home, and the best school for their kids.
But awakenings do occur. This happens when someone wakes up one day and asks, “Is this all there is? What am I missing? Why has my pile of stuff not brought me peace? Must I settle for being no more than a plastic, superficial person? I call myself a Christian but I have no sense of God in my life.”
One such man shared his heart with me. “There is no real connection between Sunday worship and my business. I feel like I am caught in the mud of life and all I am doing is spinning my wheels. The whole idea of living a ‘godly life’ seems like a fantasy to me.”
That man is on the way to aligning not the front end of his car but his life with God’s plan for living. He realizes that the things of this world can never satisfy the gnawing desire in his soul to find a grand design for our brief sojourn on earth.
As he searches me may soon realize that life is much more than toys and things. The joy of toys simply does not last. The human spirit cries for more! And there is more to life than stuff.
We can learn to love people and use things. We can learn to laugh more than we whine. We can learn to live fully each moment, squeezing all the joy possible from every moment. We can find pure joy in simple things: the brilliance of a butterfly, a spectacular sunset, a delicious squash casserole, the innocent smile of a child, or the exhilarating embrace of a caring friend.
No matter what hurdles we encounter on life’s journey we need to laugh often, live fully, and love deeply – for life is short. Then, at the end of the day, and the end of life, we may rest in peace, instead of regret, about the way we lived our allotted days. + + +