The other day I listened to an NPR interview of Amy Tan, author of the Joy Luck Club among other best-selling titles.
Her brother and father died within an year of one another when she was fifteen.
I was spell-bound as she recounted some of how that experience shaped her adolescence and still shapes her today. I identified with things I am observing in my children and things I feel in my own heart.
She said she thinks about death every day. Not in a morbid sense, but in the sense that she is very aware death is every human’s experience, eventually.
Some of her friends call her paranoid.
Some of my friends call me gloomy.
But she went on to say that thinking about death gave her a precious gift: It made her constantly evaluate if what she is doing right now matters, if it is truly her passion and if it is something she will be glad she did when her time comes to pass from this life into the next.
I think she’s right.
Solomon said, “It is better to go to the house of mourning Than to go to the house of feasting, For that [day of death] is the end of every man, And the living will take it to heart and solemnly ponder its meaning.” Ephesians 7:2 AMP
It’s easy to get caught up in everyday details and forget the sweep of life. It’s tempting to fritter away a day, a month, a year, a decade doing meaningless and unfulfilling things. But my time is limited-whether I am 20 or 40 or 60.
Burying Dominic has made me zealous to make every day count. It has made me impatient with foolish pursuits and material measures marking success or failure.
I will not waste the years I have left on things that don’t matter.
And I will measure what matters by the yardstick of death.
“Whatever will matter on our dying day, and then when we stand before the Lord, is what matters most today, right now, at this instant.”