Monday, July 24, 2017
“There is not love of life without despair about life.” ― Albert Camus
Knowing that you recently had a disease (malaria) that might have killed you and that has killed neighbor children and loved ones of every staff member gets you to thinking about death—and life. Aristotle said that a life unexamined “isn’t worth the living.” It is good and necessary to think about life and death rather than just “going through the motions” of living. I just “went through the motions” for much of my life, especially the eleven years I lived in Los Angeles—primarily because I didn’t want to think about what I was doing or more importantly what I wasn’t doing. Now, as I approach my 73rd birthday (in November, same day as Prince Charles), I find myself knowing that I could have lived a much better and more meaningful life, yet even as I analyze things, I realize that many of the bad things I did for the wrong reasons still became good things for other people. I don’t know how God counts doing the right things for the wrong reasons, but I hope it’s better than doing the wrong things whatever the reason.
My wife and I were talking the other day about for whom we would “take a bullet” as it were. I discovered that for me the answer is just about anybody who still has a chance to do some good in this world. I know I have wasted much of my life and am truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to spend the last years of my life doing as much good for others as I humanly can here in one of the poorest countries in the world. However, when we came here, I really didn’t expect to live more than a couple of years. I thought that at least my kids could could have said their dad died as a missionary in Africa which I thought would be better than say, dying in a retirement home. However, God had other plans for me and I have had two implanted defibrillators replaced since I’ve been here—so, like the Energizer Bunny, I just keep going and going and going. It seems that God wants me here, alive, to work until He decides I’ve done enough. Well, when He asked me to come here, I did say, “Yes” with no reservations. So, I will serve until God decides the party is over for me. This doesn’t mean no more malaria or other physical or emotional problems, but I’ve dealt with them all so far, and feel confident I can continue. Mitch Albom (who wrote “Tuesdays with Morrie”) says it well,
“We get so many lives between birth and death. A life to be a child. A life to come of age. A life to wander, to settle, to fall in love, to parent, to test our promise, to realize our mortality—and in some lucky cases, to do something after that realization.”
Turns out I’m one of those “lucky” cases. Maybe you are, too, no matter your age. Don’t waste any years or even any moments. This is not a dress rehearsal, this is a life with a “best if used by” date. Make a difference. Make your kindness count.