Just a thought: Living life with purpose and urgency

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A lot of people have been dying lately. Many are dying early before they finish a long and complete life. My heart aches regularly reading the obituary of someone I knew whose life impacted mine.


I hurt terribly for the surviving family of those who have passed. They have to adjust to a new season of their life. They move forward with a hole in their world.


Sometimes I feel we need to live life with the end in mind. I can predict right now how your life will end. You will die. My day is ahead also. I know these are blunt statements, but they are reality. And I feel we each need to face reality. I almost died two years ago with a dissected aorta. With God’s help, I beat the odds.


So my question is what happens between now and the unknown date of your final breath? You hold the answer to this question. It’s under your control.


From time to time I hear that someone wrote their own obituary. I think this is a great concept. If each of us took time to write several paragraphs about the life we just finished, maybe it would help us focus on what our life is all about between now and then.


I believe each of us needs to leave a legacy. What will your legacy be? Do you plan to leave one? What are you doing today that will live on after your funeral?


What you receive in your lifetime dies with you. What you give lives on after you are gone.


I believe there’s an urgency to life. I’m not sure where this came from, but I seemed to have been programmed this way. I feel every day provides an opportunity to add value to the life of others. It may be something simple like writing a person a note or it may be more complex such as listening to a person’s problem and helping solve it.


There are only so many trips around the sun that I will get to spend. And any trip could be my last.


I live life as if I only have today. I live life as if I will live to my life expectancy. See if you can reconcile these two concepts. Today is important and it must be lived to its fullest. Sixteen hours from now this day will be spent, never to be lived again. When I lay in bed tonight the day will have moved from opportunities to history. Will I have used every opportunity I had to add value to the lives of others? What opportunities will I have missed?


But I also need to ask myself the question, what have I done today to put myself in a position to help others in the years ahead. Have I done any act that will have a long reaching effect?


When I breathe my last breath I want my life to be spent. I don’t want to die with any unused potential in me. I don’t want those who attend my funeral to say, “It’s such a shame he didn’t use his God given gift set.” That’s what my life is about, using my gift set to benefit others.


I have a jar of marbles that sits on a shelf in my office. When I did calculations of how long my life expectancy was several years ago I came up with 1111 weeks. I went out and bought 1111 marbles and at the end of each week since then I throw one away. The jar is getting emptier each week. I’m throwing away the plain marbles first, holding back in the jar the most beautiful ones. I hope I have the opportunity to throw away the beautiful marbles one at a time.



Even though my body is aging, somehow I believe the best is yet to come. I have no idea if one day I will be able to throw away the last marble in the jar, God knows already and that’s good enough for me.


Each week on Sunday I stop my world and reach into the jar and pull out a marble. I reflect on the week I’ve just spent and ask myself if I’ve lived my priorities. Some weeks my response to this question is better than others. Regardless, it provides me with accountability on a weekly basis.


I love life and living it each day. I really do. I have ups and downs just as you do, but I’ve learned to ride the waves. There are many activities in my life that I find very fulfilling. Each of them (including writing these columns) has the potential to add value to the lives of others.


So why do I share the above? I think too many people spend their precious days on trivia stuff. They get bogged down in meaningless minutia. I don’t want to throw stones at others as I am programed the same way. I just consciously ask myself the question, am I wasting hours or days of my life?


I feel everyone needs to be part of an organization with an important cause to make a difference in the lives of others. Each of us needs to devote time and effort with the rest of the team helping change the world. We need to have systems in place that will ensure we leave a legacy when we’re gone.


My challenge to you today is to change your world view. Recognize today is an important day in your life. Recognize your “todays” are limited. You spend them and then they are gone. Today is the only day you can live. When your life is over, so are your “todays.”


Don’t make any excuses to not accomplish today what you need to be accomplishing because of any event that happened in any of your yesterdays. Remember yesterdays to fly higher today, but not to hold you back.


There is an urgency to this thing called life. Each night when you go to bed, your life account is minus one day. Someday your marbles will run out.


Are you living your priorities? Is it your faith, your family, those you serve for a living, an organization you belong to? Are you adding value to the lives of others? If your last day arrives soon, are you leaving behind a legacy? Are you living the obituary you would write for yourself?


Think about these things...and respond accordingly. And may God bless you each day ahead.


Just a thought...


Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.

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