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Lonnette Harrell

I was listening to a song tonight that said “there are two kinds of trouble in this world–living and dying.” Somehow it struck me to the core.

Dying seems like a horrible option. I don’t care how long we’ve lived, or how much we’ve suffered, the struggle to let go of this life cannot be an easy one. The life force is so strong, that we will go through many things, in hopes of staying alive.

I remember reading Tuesdays With Morrie, and thinking how much Morrie fought to remain on this earth, when almost every pleasure had been taken from him, and he was able to do nothing more than lie in bed. Yet he lived every moment of his slow death. Having once been a professor, he continued to teach a favorite past student. But the lessons weren’t the textbook variety. They were life lessons. Lessons about how to live, and how to die.

Many of us don’t learn these lessons until we are actually dying. But then it’s too late to go back and redo the story. It is what it is.

Here’s a novel concept–what if you were to live like you were dying? How would your life be different?

Most of us have been there momentarily, when we’ve gotten bad news. Not long ago, I was told that I could have kidney cancer. Many days passed before the test.  And then there was the actual day of the kidney x-ray, with the contrast material. Then once again, many days passed waiting for an answer. Waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the results. In a way, life came to a standstill while I waited. But I was doing a lot of thinking.

Maybe you’ve been through something similar. Suddenly all the things that seemed so important–aren’t, and all the things that didn’t–are. Petty arguments are of no consequence, and money and material possessions don’t mean a thing.

What really matters is faith, family, and friends. You don’t have time to guess about whether you’re right with God anymore. You have to know. You have to be sure. And those people that you thought you’d always be with (for many years in the future) become closer to your heart with every passing moment, and leaving them seems painfully impossible. Good friends become the support you need with reassurance, comfort and prayers. (And it’s then that you really learn who your friends are.)

Somewhere along the way, it crosses your mind that your life could really be over, and you wonder what you’ve accomplished. Did you live for the Lord, and to love and help others? Did you make a difference in anyone’s life? Was there a reason that you were here?

Some people never think on these things until they are dying, or someone close to them dies.

Funerals are sad events, but people are probably never more open to receiving the Lord, as they become in those moments, because they are forced to decide if they believe in an afterlife, heaven, hell, Jesus, eternal life, salvation, seeing loved ones again, etc. In this busy world, minus a tragedy, many people aren’t going to stop and focus on the purpose of their life–because they are so busy living it. It was John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans.”

I have had a loved one taken from me unexpectedly. (Several in fact.) At that moment, you are shaken to the depths. You would give anything to have one more day, and most of the time, so would they. But the final chapter on earth ends, and it’s over. (Ready or not.)

It turns out that I did not have kidney cancer, and I can tell you that the sky looked bluer, and the sun shone brighter the day that I received the good news. But I began to think of all the people that don’t get good news–the ones who had been waiting, just like I was. (But they were not as fortunate in their diagnosis.) It happens every day.

So what’s my point? I think you know by now. It comes down to this–how would life be different, if we would all live like we were dying?…

Please read other articles that I have written here:


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