“ Thorough examination will do the healthy no harm, and it may bless the sick.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
For me, this quote is less about a medical examination - it speaks about an examination of the soul...the life. I have thought a lot about those words since serving as Chaplain for Simmons the last few years. I find myself in situations with people almost every day where they are in a position, whether by choice or crisis, to examine what is really important in life.
I could tell countless stories of being at the bedside of those who knew their time on this earth was down to a matter of days, sometimes hours. If you have ever had a conversation like this with someone, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It is a humbling experience to be with a person whose entire life is behind them and to listen as they reflect on life.
For those of us who are not in this position, who have life ahead of us to be lived, we can learn much from these experiences. First, I think it affords us the chance to place ourselves for a moment in their shoes and question, “Have I lived, invested, and loved the things/people that truly matter?” I’ve had many conversations that are riddled with regrets, and feelings that there would be more time to iron out the wrinkles of life. Some are afforded this time - some are not.
Second, I think we are reminded that of all the things that can be avoided in life, death is not one of them. I don’t know about you, but I want whatever time I am given to have mattered. I want my funeral to be filled with people – whose lives were positively impacted by me being a part of it somehow. I don’t believe you have to be a chaplain or pastor to do this either. I think right where you are now: work, home, community – you have the opportunity to leave a positive and meaningful legacy.
For some, your legacy has been in the works for many years. For other, that legacy begins today. How do you want to be remembered? What kind of legacy are you leaving? Take time today and examine your life. Invest more time on the things that feed this legacy. Get rid of the things that damage it. Think of those in your life who have positively impacted you greatly: What is it about them that you wish to see in yourself?
The New Year is a time for us to reflect on the year(s) past, and look forward to the person we want to be. I want to challenge you, as you are setting goals and planning for this new year, to begin with the end in mind.
What do you want your life, relationships, job...to look like at the end of 2013?
In what ways do you wish to grow this year (spiritually, relationally, intellectually)?