Then, this morning came...
I went to the room of a lady at Vanderbilt Hospital who was literally minutes away from death. She had been brought in for a heart transplant only to discover that her body was too weak. She couldn't handle the transplant. Her daughter, the lone family member there at the time, was waiting for the rest of the family to arrive before they slowly began to remove the tubes that gave her life. There it was again. Death--that nasty reminder that this life is not all there is. Seems like the last six years of my life have seen it more frequently and more up close than I care to. But it always makes me ask the question, does it really matter?
Thankfully, that lesson has not been lost on me. Last night, I had a hard discussion with my son about what was important in life. It was an attempt to teach him that the right choices are not always easy, that tough questions have to be asked in light of the question, "What really matters?"
I told him, "From the day your mother and I knew she was pregnant, we began praying for you. Never once in fifteen years of praying did I ask God to make you stronger or more athletic. Never once did I say help him to succeed at catching a pass or throwing a strike. I have simply prayed that He would make you more like Jesus so that you could play your part in changing the world."
I want my kids to succeed. But I want them to succeed in light of eternity. I want them to know that their time here on this planet really mattered--but not the way the world measures it. In the course of eternity, what difference did they make? That should serve as our "north star", our guiding factor as we plot the course of our lives and lay the future for that of our kids. Today, someone died. Lots of "someones." And once again, I was reminded that this short life we've been given is just practice for eternity--we better make it count for something that will stand the test of ALL time.