Just a thought: Taking life for granted


I am still here. So are you. This is temporary for both of us. Don’t you forget this! I remember this each day. Because each day is precious.

It seems like there have been a lot of unexpected deaths lately. People who are here living life one minute and then gone the next. Some I hear about hours after their passing. Others I don’t know until many days later when I read about them in the newspaper. Regardless, we’re all headed to the same ending point, a last breath.

In recent days I’ve been reminded about my own mortality.

When I was 16 months old and living in a small village in Nigeria with my missionary parents I accidently drank kerosene and easily could have died. I had to fight for each breath, one at a time.

Twenty years ago my wife was driving my family on a windy mountain road on the side of a mountain in Colorado when she hit a patch of ice and lost control of the vehicle. It turned around 180 degrees and slid out of control on the road with the back of the vehicle going first. It could have slid two directions, one was off the side of the two lane road down the mountainside into the trees with the four of us inside. The other direction was into the side of the mountain. I believe we had angels watching over us as we came to rest against the mountain.

Three years ago last week I found myself being airlifted in an ambulance plane, 200 miles to a major heart hospital with a dissected aorta. The odds were that I would die before making it to the hospital. After five days in the ICU I was able to get back in the flow of life. Yet I still carry this condition with me each step I take.

I believe I’ve been pulled through each of these brushes with death because God has more for me to do. I wake up each morning thankful I am still here and asking the question “God, what do you want me to do today?”

Now put the Covid experience into this equation. Every one of our lives have been impacted greatly by this condition. We all know people who have died with this diagnosis, some very close to us.

It is interesting to me that all the rules change when we know someone is dying. For example, my wife and I were unable to hug my mother-in-law who lived in an assisted living facility her final months until her condition worsened and she was about to die. Then we were let into her room to hug her, hold her hand, and pray over her.

At some point each of us has had to walk away from the body of a person who is deceased. My day is ahead.

What I’m getting at is that I believe each of us takes life for granted.

I know all of this sounds morbid and it is not intended to cause you to get down or to be depressed, only to recognize reality and appreciate what you have today.

Today is a special day because it is yours to spend. It is right here in front of you staring you in the face. Maybe you’ve survived a life threatening experience. Maybe you’re fighting a life threatening condition right now. No two of our journeys are the same.

We have each been dealt a different hand of cards. Whatever hand we have we are holding we need to play it the best we can.

I don’t know how many todays you have ahead, but I know that tomorrow you will have one less of them.

Let me ask you some important questions. Are you the best version of you that you can be? Are you making time for the priorities in your life? Are you living your life for the benefit of others?

You have been given a unique set of gifts. You did nothing to put this gift set in you. You were given your gift set for you to develop it the best you can for the benefit of others. Your gift set is yours to spend and someday it will pass with you.

I believe it is very selfish of any one of use to not use our gift set for the benefit of others. What we receive dies with us. What we pour into the lives of others lives on after we are gone.

Our greatest accomplishment in our lives should be the impact we have on the lives of others, not something we were recognized for.

So I treasure today. Tomorrow I will treasure tomorrow. I live life with an urgency because each day I live I know is one less day to experience.

I don’t know how many days I have left. My next brush with death could be my last. It doesn’t matter. God still has me here right now and the only thing I can control right now is what I do at this moment. Whether I have 30 years left of 30 days, my living today should be the same.

My challenge to you is to not sleepwalk through the days you have. Wake up and look around. What a great world you’re living in! You have the world at your fingertips.

Value today. It’s an important day in your life. You may not have many todays left. What is God’s plan for your day today?

What would you do today if you knew you had only a handful of todays left? Do you need to hug someone you love? Write a note to someone too far away to hug? Mend a broken relationship? Accomplish a goal that has been dormant for too long?

I am still here. So are you. Today is in front of us. Tomorrow may not come and tomorrow may be too late.

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.