If You Had Only 6 Months to Live What Would You Do Differently?
I lay on my back deck, face down, warming in the sun. The kids splashed in the pool. Another glorious summer day.
Lazily, I began to sit up when a spot on my left forearm caught my eye. A darker pigment than my other freckles, it struck me as strange. Had this spot always been there? Why hadn’t I noticed it before? Did it look so different than the other ones? This train of thought started me down a dark track. My thoughts turned to skin cancer.
I had always loved being in the sun. I can remember as a child lying by my parent’s pool lathered in baby oil stretched out on a silver blanket for an entire Saturday. As a teenager, I frequented the tanning beds to even out lines and prolong my tan into the cold winter months.
What if I’ve done enough damage to my skin that I have now exposed it to a deadly disease? What if I have only a year to live? Or six months? Or three?
On lazy summer afternoons my thoughts can get the best of me, and I found myself sinking further into this thought pattern like a pit bull sinks its teeth into a juicy bone. I couldn’t let go.
My thoughts continued.
If I had only half a year to live, what would I do differently?
Well, I’m certain that I would still write. I have no choice in that matter–to ask me to stop writing would be like telling a dolphin to quit swimming. I would write for my kids. I would tell of my experiences, write love letters and give them advice for their teenage years.
I would play more. Sometimes I can get too serious. I say that I don’t want to go in the pool because it’ll mess my makeup. But with only six months, I wouldn’t even wear makeup.
I would eat foods I loved without the guilt. Not that I would need (or even want) to pig out, but rather I would enjoy that decadent fudge brownie without mentally calculating the calories and fat content.
I would use my computer to email friends. And not send those goofy jokes, but instead write long letters. Even better, I’d throw my computer away and spend the savings from Internet fees on my phone bill instead.
I would visit my friends and family; not just the obligatory Christmas visits, but also full-day visits where we could talk about things beyond the weather.
I would spend time on my knees. God would be my number one priority. He would be my Refuge, my Strength, and my Comfort. I would spend time in His word seeking His peace. I would spend time in earnest prayer.
An hour had gone by. The kids were drying off and asked me to make a snack for them. I’d been lost in my thoughts.
Why should life be so different than this?
I may only have six months, or I may only have six hours. I don’t know when my time will be. So I think that today I’ll take the kids for a hike in the nearby woods, talk about God’s creation, and buy a guilt-free ice-cream cone afterward.
For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end (Psalm 48:14 NIV).
Share in the comments what you would do if you knew you only had 6 months to live.