One of the things that you often hear when folk experience life threatening illnesses is that it gives them a new appreciation for the value of life and how they want to make the most of what they have left. I have certainly had thoughts and feelings along those lines myself.
But how do you make the most of life? What does this look like? Does it mean having a bucket list and tearing round the globe ticking off places just in case you won’t get the chance again, or jumping out of aeroplanes and other such “thrilling” activities? Well that might be important for some folk, but somehow such things don’t do it for me.
What I’ve come to realise more deeply than ever before is that life is a gift and as such it can’t be grasped; it has to be received. None of us can visit every exotic place in the world or experience all the pleasures the world has to offer – but what we can do is enjoy what we’ve been given. Indeed if we grasp at life we can end up losing the very meaning of it. Jesus once said: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? ” Matthew 16:25-26
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few places I’d like to visit and a few things I’d like to do. I’ve always wanted to go to Rome so that’s already booked, and I’m still after that hole-in-one!
But overall, I think making the most of life is about spending time with those we love and fulfilling our purpose in God, and recognising that we will never be able to tick all the boxes of the things we imagine are important. This life is too short for that, but in the context of eternity that doesn’t matter, and I’m just so grateful for all that I’ve been given so far.
Mark Wickenden, Minister