In his book of short reflections, “A Minute of Margin,” Richard Swenson shares the following provocative story about the people working on the 103rd floor of the Word Trade Center on 9/11:
“…At 8:45 AM, people working on the 103rd floor were pouring their morning coffee, straightening their desks, reviewing their Tuesday appointments, bantering with office mates, glancing at the harbor . . .
One minute later, none of that mattered. Twenty floors below, a 757 transected the building leaving the 103rd cut off, trapped, hopeless. But not yet dead.
When you have ten minutes to live, what are your thoughts? What is important in the last seconds? As a tribute to those nameless faces staring down at us from the smoky inferno, can we stop what we are doing long enough to listen to them? Seeing death from this perspective is not morbid: on the contrary, it can help us see life.
Those who found phones called–not their stock brokers to check the latest ticker, not their hair stylists to cancel the afternoon’s appointment, not even their insurance agents to check coverage levels. They called spouses to say “I love you” one last time, children to say “You are precious” one last time, parents to say “Thank you” one last time… And surely those standing on the brink of another world thought of God–of truth and eternity, judgment and redemption, grace and the Gospel.”
Today is my last day with my big girls before Joel and I depart for a vacation to Italy. Last night as I lay my head on the pillow, I thought about today.
I won’t be seeing these precious ones for two weeks, so I want to be intentional about how we spend the next 24 hours. I decided the following:
– we are doing no schoolwork
– we are going to have lots of snuggle time
– I’m going to play whatever silly, crazy games they want
– I’m going to stay off my phone as much as possible
– We are going to explore nature together in perfect weather
– I’m going to pray and read to them and shower them with love!
We’re only going to be apart for two weeks, but I want them to have some great memories to ponder while I’m not with them.
On your last day, what do you want to have said you did with your life? What do you hope your life will have accomplished?
Most people think about their closest relationships – people that matter most to them. And faithfulness – “What did I do with what God entrusted to me?”
When Jesus came to the end of His life on earth, he prayed to His Father, “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me…Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them.” – John 17: 6-8
As Richard Swenson said – it’s not morbid to think about death – it’s wise. Yes, work must be done, floors swept, food made, schedules planned. But we should never allow the busyness of life to keep us from the real business of life – relationships.
If your life has been a flurry of stress and activity lately, what are some steps you can take to make time each day for what (and WHO!) is most important to you?
How can you best redeem this brief life God has given you? Say what you need to say, do what you need to do – not just once but again and again and again.
And when your last day does come, you can say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7