I’m Dying (and You Are, Too)

Not your typical pump-me-up motivational line? Death is hardly a popular topic, even among those with strong religious beliefs. Once in a while, though, it hits us square in the face.

Photo Credit: ThirteenOfClubs Flickr User, CC

I’ve been dealing with a weird medical thing for about 8 months. At first the doctors thought it was a fungal infection of some kind (how’s your breakfast?), but it just won’t respond to anti-fungal meds. This past week, my doctor took a biopsy.

“Well, it could be [insert doctorese], which is no big deal. It could be just a weird fungal thing. I’m also going to have it tested for Lymphoma. It’s a long shot, but some forms get away from us.”

“Ok,” I responded almost with a shrug. He’s the doctor. The way he said Lymphoma, though, led me to Google it. And all of a sudden I could be fighting a nasty blood cancer.

Before I wax too dramatic, I don’t have a diagnosis yet. The biopsy will take a while. But I don’t need to have cancer to know that I’m dying. All of us are.

In my time as a Funeral Director, I saw children who didn’t get their first breath and centenarians take their last. There’s not a rule on when we’re born or when we’ll die.

We read about people all the time who decided to live their last year or two really big. I won’t offer you a six-step program to do that, I’ll just ask you one question: Why wait?

The biopsy could come back looking really ugly with some form of prognosis. But whether it does or not, I refuse to wait any more to live life big.

I want to build a legacy every day. I want to leave an impression on a LOT of people. I want to raise kids who do the same. And I refuse to wait “until I’m dying” to do any of it.

Let’s quit ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room. Let’s straighten our backs, look Death in the face and say “Challenge Accepted.” Let’s not treat it like a stalking predator but like a constant reminder to do it now.

I’m not telling you to sell all of your possessions and move to the islands. I’m telling you to do that thing you know you ought to do. I’m telling you to give and serve and love and live…before you die.

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7 thoughts on “I’m Dying (and You Are, Too)

  1. Hi Justin! This is a great post! We’re all on a one-way ticket to death. That’s not a fun thought for sure, but it’s true. I am sorry you have been put in this situation and will be praying you don’t get a cancer diagnosis! SOmetimes, even the thoughts of the possibilities of our mortality can be enough to spark in us a desire to really live. I hope you’re able to do just that…for a VERY long time!

    1. Absolutely, Bryan! During my time as a Funeral Director, I faced the facts of a fragile life every day. But facing the possibility that it could come for me is a totally different reality. We’ve all got one-way tickets, for sure, but none of us is riding alone and all of us are sharing the experience. Thanks for your prayers and wisdom!

  2. Life is short and remembering that allows us to make the daily choices that leave a lasting impact. Death will happen to everyone no matter who they are, but not everyone makes the important choices that lead to leaving a legacy and difference. Great thoughts bro!

  3. I agree with Dan. Live your life today with the goal of leaving a legacy. Everyone wants to make an impact on the world, few are willing to overcome and do what it takes. Great post. Thanks for sharing this. It’s not cancer, in Jesus’s name.

  4. Great post. This reminded me of the post I wrote a while back (http://paulsohn.org/how-to-live-deep-and-suck-out-all-the-marrow-of-life-in-your-20s/). You’re spot on Justin. Death is coming. The bigger issue is how we are living our lives today so that the Father will either call us “good and faithful servant” or “wicked and lazy servant.” I think the heart of that starts with understanding your calling and as a result living an intentional life. I define intentional living as “living every moment with kingdom-impact, stewarding your gifts, resources, desires, and potential as a response to His calling in your life.” Great post!

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