If you died today would you be happy – with who you are – and where you are? Someone I know dropped dead a few days ago while she was at work. She was young, 43, a first cousin to my children, who had twin sons in college. She was one day shy of her birthday, and also one day away from moving, her husband, to another state to be closer to her boys. Being separated from them was hard, and it was hard for them, because they were a close family. Now they are forever separated.
Much earlier in my life, as a little girl, she was the flower girl at my first wedding. I hadn’t seen her often in later years, but I never once thought of not being able to see her when I visited with family in the area. I have sat and thought about her quite a bit the past few days, feeling sorrow in my heart for her family. She had a husband, mother and grandmother, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and many family friends whose heads are still reeling from the sudden loss.
Sudden unexpected death from someone who had barely started middle age, who didn’t have the joy of seeing her sons graduate from college and start their own lives, and who would never experience the joy of having grandchildren, is sad. They say she had a heart attack, but they won’t know why until she is autopsied. She was quite heavy and had diabetes, but was that the cause? My own children, only a few years younger than she have already had two first cousins near their own age pass away unexpectedly. It leaves them with nothing to say. Mere words aren’t enough. How many times can someone say, or hear the words said, “I’m so sorry”. I am – so – sorry. As with my sister, who lost her son in a car accident when he was thirty, no matter how hard she tried to catch the pieces as they exploded around her into a million tiny fragments, could she ever put them back together again, and no one could help her find the way to do it. It was forever broken.
But you are alive . . .
Getting back to the title of these words, if that person was you – because it could be you, would you be happy with what you had done with your life? If all you had was a few minutes to realize you were dying, and you could slow time down inside your head to give you time to think, what would you have to say about yourself? Are you kind of person who says, “I will do this when . . . I get done what I’m doing now . . . after the holidays are over . . . when I get done with this pack . . . when so-and-so apologizes to me first . . . after I think about it for awhile . . .etc, etc, etc. Or are you a person who tries to convince himself he is happy, or at least okay, without changing the things you wish you could change, because that is just the way you are?
Would you be okay if you died today? Maybe you tried to change this or that habit, or tried to change a part of your nature that makes you behave in ways you don’t like, and wish you could take it back, but it’s too late. Maybe you tried and failed, so you say you’ll change later, or give up altogether and pretend you’re happy with it?
Are you happy with the way you treat your life and the people in it, or do you look for ways to hide from yourself and pretend to people around you that the problem doesn’t exist all? Are you destructive to yourself and say, “You gotta go sometime?” Damn I hate that cop out.
We all have things about ourselves we wish we could change. Sometimes we think we can ask “something” outside ourselves to fix our problems so we don’t have to do it ourselves. We pray to understand why God took this person from us when they were so young and had people who loved them. The words, “This must be the Lord’s will” will be undoubtedly be spoken at this time, because there are no other words that suffice, but they really are fairly empty words, spoken when you can find no other reason for the death. But if it was the Lord’s will I’d be pretty pissed at him, if I believed he existed, which I don’t. On social media, the words, “Prayers for you and your family” will be written over and over by people who probably won’t actually take the time to pray. They are just the words people say when there are no other adequate words to tell someone when they are grieving. You feel the need to portray sympathy and be careful of their emotions, which are understandably fragile.
Karma is a heavy thing. You reap what you sow. You get back what you dish out. What goes around comes around and the law of cause and effect. They are all the same thing no matter what faith you practice or don’t practice. One doesn’t need to believe in anything, to get back back what they dish out. Jump off a bridge and you will probably kill yourself or get hurt badly.
I got Hep C because it was my bad cause. The Lord definitely did not will this on me. In my experience, the term, “The Lord’s will” is usually only used in time of death or severe illness when people need a reason for it to have happened, or if you were saved from dying that seemed miraculous. Perhaps not dying in a car accident was because of the Lord’s will? But people don’t often say it for minor things like, I failed this college exam because it was the Lord’s will. Or, my husband cheated on me so it must be the Lord’s will.
But my Hep C certainly didn’t happen by accident, and living through my liver transplant was not the Lord’s will. No amount of praying to anything “out there” to fix it for me was going to change it, no matter what anyone believes. All I could do was use wisdom to make the right causes to take care of myself the best way I could. and I am still alive and happy about that. I had prayed to God to heal me, and didn’t change my behavior I’d be dead. I would not have even made it to the transplant.
If someone drinks for years and ruins their liver and keeps on drinking, what do you think is going to happen? If you are overweight and have diabetes and think insulin will save you – it won’t. You are still doing bad damage to your body. Don’t convince yourself you aren’t. No matter how much you pray. You have to stop doing what you are doing and change your life to make a difference. Faith without action changes nothing. No faith and no action doesn’t change anything, either. Prayer by itself does squat – except maybe it makes you feel better, that’s all.
There is a saying – if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you will continue to get what you’ve always got.
Yes, people die unexpectedly of many things we can’t tie into a cause that was made. Maybe a car hit us, maybe we caught a deadly virus, or genetics slammed us with something incurable at this time. We don’t always have the wisdom to understand why. Some things aren’t caused by lifestyle. No matter what caused the death, we do feel genuinely sorry because we care for and love these people. We will miss them terribly.
But if you – today – died, would you be happy with yourself and the way you lived your life? Because you are still alive, you have the chance to do something about it. What are you doing that could cause you to literally drop dead on the floor? What would you change? You know what those things are. And what do you want people to say about you if that happened? “Well, he was too fat and his blood pressure was way high.” or “I kept telling her to quit smoking and all she said was, I can’t”. If you knew today that smoking was going to kill you in exactly one year unless you stopped, would you? Even if you could count down the days and at the last minute, when it was too late, you’d try? My father did that with his drinking. The doctor told him, “Gene, if you never had another drink there is enough of your liver left that it could probably repair itself.” Yet he didn’t. He did quit – later – but it was too late, and he died a horrible painful death and although he was only 54, he looked 90. It shriveled his body into an old man. He missed his grandchildren growing up and his great-grandchildren, that my mother, today 82, has a chance to see grow. He did not have to die. He chose to die. That me me angry. and it certainly was not the Lord’s will. It was my father’s will.
My nephew, was an alcoholic since he was a teen and was on and off the wagon so many times, car accidents, alcohol poisoning and several rehabs, and his liver was damaged. He wrapped his truck around a tree one night, wrecking the lives of his family. He didn’t have to die, either.
We all have people in our lives that have these stories. We want to knock their heads against a wall and hope sense will prevail, but not everyone has the courage to change. Their list of excuses is too long. It won’t become real enough for many of them until it becomes to late. Even if it isn’t too late and they live, damage may have already been done to their body they won’t get over. I know that. I’m a perfect example. But when I knew how sick I was I went, “Whoa! Gotta change” I’m a pretty strong person mentally. I was determined to live. But I still have to deal with all the damage that was caused by the things I did to my body, thinking nothing bad was going to happen to me – the bane of youth – invincibility.
Where we are in our lives is ALWAYS because of the causes we made, even if we don’t understand what they are. But where you are now is the time we need to make the causes for our future. What causes are you making for your life? Would you be happy with yourself if you died today? Forget what anyone else might think – are YOU happy? Because, if you aren’t, you might have time to do something about it. Maybe not. Sometimes all we can do is realize we can’t things and do our best to make the most of the life we have left, even though not every disease can change, no matter what we do.
Stop lying to yourself. Stop telling yourself you can’t do it. Stop trying to convince yourself you really are eating much better than you were, and your insulin shots are keeping your sugar levels in line, because diabetes is not just about your A1C. Every – single – female – adult – in – my – family (except me, and one niece ) has diabetes. Wow! Stop having beers every day and think it’s okay because at least it isn’t whiskey. Stop saying you are too tired to exercise and will start after the holidays, because you haven’t been feeling well ( Me – I start yoga tomorrow to begin stretching again because I have been sick). Stop saying you can’t eat right because you have to buy cheap because it costs too much. The price you pay for bad food is much greater in the long run. Stop giving in to the back of your head when it tells you that you don’t need to change.
And do these things before you drop dead.
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