We just celebrated my mom’s 91st birthday. She bemoans her loss of independence and her pains. “Just throw me in Lake Erie,” she remarks. Yet she is anticipating another birthday party next year. And her family is glad she is still with us. I too am moving closer to the end of my life. This has made me reflect on how precious every day is. Because I live today, I can delight in the beauty of the full moon decorated with wisps of gray clouds this morning. I can enjoy Beethoven’s 5th symphony and the theme from the Titanic movie.
I can look forward to a delicious fish fry tonight in the company of good friends. Best of all, I can know love. Yes, it’s great to be alive on this planet! And what a heinous crime it is to deprive a person of the gift of life.
Jesus called himself “the Life” and said he came to bring us abundant life. Because of him—his sacrifice on the cross and his rising—we have regained the potential to live forever. Now death is not a dead end for us but a door to an even fuller, richer life, one beyond our wildest imagination, according to St. Paul. If this life is a hint of what’s to come, we human beings are truly fortunate.
When I taught freshmen, in one religion class we had a “Celebrate Life” day. Each student shared something that reflected that theme. You might celebrate life today: do something you enjoy, review wonderful things you’ve experienced so far, spend extra time thanking God for letting you be born. And answer the question that poet Mary Oliver poses: “What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
What are some things you like about being alive?