What if…

What if I gained the whole world but lost my soul? What if? And what am I willing to free up in my life- to let go- so as to gain inheritance of this eternal soul?  So as to protect that which is my most valuable part?

I feel like I have been operating on automatic these last couple of days- processing information internally while externally going through the motions. It’s been a trying, exhausting week, and it’s only Wednesday. A thought keeps popping into my head about these moments we are living right now. The fragility of such. The delicate vulnerability of this life. It is so fleeting. And that thought is this:

What are we doing with our days? Where are we spending our time? With whom? And how?

We are all so busy. Busy, busy, busy. And so connected to our devices.  Our technology. But at what cost? And for what purpose?

When you lose a loved one, one tends to become introspective. I realize that these considerations of mine are a natural fall-out. They happen and occur quite unsurprisingly. We humans tend to examine life a little more closely when we have just looked death in the eye. Or at the very least, when we have seen death’s shadow.

But it doesn’t take that long before we are back to the living games with a vengeance. Moving and shaking like we have never before considered the end of the story.

I wonder: what if we lived each and every day with a less stable understanding.   And if we did so, what changes in our lives might transpire? What if, when we woke, we considered that this day- it might be our last? What if we spent more time with people who are dying? What if we poured our time into ventures that had lasting value instead of the pursuits we so often choose that are frivolous and unnecessary? What if we regularly considered the end instead of always focusing on the present? Not to the exclusion of the present- but just sometimes, some moments spent on more serious matters. What if we spent some of our moments considering the uncertainty of the future?

What if we purposed to do this, even once a month? I wonder what a difference it might make in our overall living.

Sometimes we need to face death so as to appreciate living that much more. But we also need to understand that living this life is a privilege: we have been offered a vulnerable gift.  A gift given at a price. And that price includes our limited time and resources as well as our pursuits.

The price we pay is our life.  Both our mortal and our eternal lives depend on time and pursuits.  And how we choose.

We can gain a lot in this life: we can go a lot of places and do a lot of things and meet a lot of people. We make many choices, some better than others. But we often do not have a choice in our time of death. Death comes unannounced. And if we are unprepared, we can feel as though we have been gyped.  Stripped. We can feel as though we have lost something that was rightfully ours.

But truly in the end, we come to realize: this life is not our own.   It is a gift. May we never forget that and may we always appreciate this fact.

In receiving the gift, we are given certain perimeters. It is a gift to cherish. A gift to look after. But what if we take that gift and squander it? What if we lose something so precious as our soul in the process? All the life endeavors we have set out to undertake would certainly be a hefty price to pay for one’s very soul.

Might we never forget that we are not hamsters, so why do we run in circles?

We are not Nascar drivers, so why do we rush as if this life were a race track?

We are not frivolous players, so why do we pretend that life is a competitive game to be won?

We are not mindless ninnies, so why do we feel we must succumb to the pressure?

We are beautiful, sacred, eternal souls inside a fading shell that serves us well. Until it can no more. Might we never sell out that soul in pursuit of those things which seems shinier, flashier or more exciting.  Things which are temporary.  Not that these things are wrong, but if they take the place of more substantial, eternal pursuits, they have certainly become distractions. Might we never make this trade-off and in so doing, lose everything that is important and worthwhile and lasting in the process.

For to do so would be to trade one’s mortal desires for those of more lasting, eternal value.

Mark 8:36, 37

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?…”