She hadn’t answered her phone or returned emails for three days. My son and daughter-in-law, Kyle and Heidi, knew something had to be very wrong; Heidi’s mom, Barbara, never failed to respond. So Kyle went to check on her.
He knocked on the door; there was no answer. He tried to open it; it was locked. He went to the apartment office to see if they would let him in.
“Nope,” they said. “You’ll have to call the police for that.”
While he was waiting for the police to arrive he called his brother-in-law, who came over immediately. Together they broke down the door. They found Barbara in her bed, conscious but unable to move or communicate. An ambulance transported her to the hospital.
She was dehydrated from having laid there for a few days, and for a while they weren’t sure what was wrong. A CT-scan finally revealed she’d had a stroke. Since so much time had already passed her prognosis was uncertain.
I have wondered what went through her head as she laid there, hoping to be found but unsure if she would be…
Barbara was fortunate; she worked hard and made a nearly full recovery. And her life looked a bit different after that. She lived it more intentionally; spending time with her family became an even higher priority. People mattered more than stuff. In short, she chose to focus on what her priorities truly were, and took greater joy in the everyday pleasures of life. She went on to live two more years before another stroke took her home.
The inescapable truth is that we will all die. A hard truth to think about on the heels of the optimism that the start of a new year brings. But it’s a good thing to remind ourselves, because it causes us to ask ourselves questions.
When all is said and done, we want our lives to reflect those things that are important to us. We cannot do that if we don’t take the time to ponder what our priorities are, and ask ourselves whether or not our lives display them.
In the end, there are only two things that last for eternity: our relationship with the Lord, and people. I want to live in light of eternity, embracing and reflecting that reality. Like Barbara, I want to recognize that each day is a gift to treasure and to savor.
That is the heart of wisdom. And I want it.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
- What would you say your priorities in life are?
- Take a moment to think. Does the way you spend your time reflect what you say those priorities are?
- What changes would you need to make so that you will be able to look back, knowing you did the important things?
Father, the only things that really matter are the things that last for eternity. I long to live my life with those priorities in mind. Please help me to focus on those things that truly matter to You, and to recognize each day as the gift that it is.