Musings often take me into the secret place of mortality. Probably because of three reasons. First, I love life and embrace it so deeply. Second, having experienced numerous loved dying over recent years is quite sobering and a seemingly unending reminder of life’s fragility. And third, there are so many things that I would like to accomplish before leaving.
Mortality is a compass that points us to the urgency of the moment.. This is what we mean when during funeral services, we read that most probing Psalm 90 that begins, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations…” The reading continues and we arrival at verse 12, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Numbering our days or considering one’s mortality is not some gloomy explorations of a depressed mind, but God’s intended contemplation that reveals a constructive application of knowledge — what we call, wisdom.
It’s one of those perversion that popular culture inculcates in the blindly led. That a bohemian-like, care free life is the mark of joy and inner peace. The loudest laugh at the neighborhood bar. The most animated dancer at a swank nightclub. The most boisterous cheer of a costumed sport fan. All supposedly the signs a blessed life.
No. Ironically, it is the person who posits how long he or she will live. The person who acknowledges longevity has its place, but who God allows to go to the mountaintop, it is that person who finds purpose. Who reaches into his or her most hidden corridors to reveal the deepest aspirations. What we learn from a world that consumes us in meaningless preoccupations is to avoid considerations of our mortality so that we also avoid the wildest imaginations of why God gave us life in the first place.
My dad, himself now gone, used to say, “Make this world a better place than it was before you arrived.” And so, I am thinking about that right now. I am thinking, “If I had the power to do whatever my mind perceives, what would I do before leaving this world?”
Insightful thing to ponder.
Indeed, I gave it some thought. Pondered this question. And came up with a list of final ‘exit plans” – some serious and others lighthearted.
“What are they”, you ask?
I would hold a special draft for a mission in Iraq, Yemen, Algeria, Mali, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, and other nations heavily populated with Muslims. And I would unveil the lottery machine that contains only one ball. That one ball bearing the draft number for Pastor Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL.
I would give people 24 hours to either make as much money as they want or solve problems for mankind. And I would watch how people use their time.
I would give the number zero a chance to be another number and see what number that would be.
I would get rid of political parties and throw a party to celebrate their demise.
I would cause every healthy person to experience a handicap about which they were once indifferent. And I would require them to depend on the previously handicapped to teach them how to survive. After a period, I would return everyone to their original condition in hopes that the blind, wheelchair confined, mentally challenged, and those with other disabilities would receive less of our empty nods and smiles and more of our hearts and helps.
I would give every tree, every river and lake, every farm, and every field a chance to yield their foods based on how we’ve treated their environments.
I would command that the oceans give up the bodies of dead transported Africans so that the pain felt within the souls of their progeny would be known to the world at-large.
I would outlaw political campaigning and require that everyone seeking office must invest their personal fortunes in designing detailed plans of what they will do and how they will do it, The public would vote on plans. And whoever developed the winning plans would win the elections. We might lose entertainment value, but actually get some things done in the world.
I would make it such that our most deep-seated sentiments miraculously appear on our foreheads.
I would change the US Currency to foodstamps and decree that dollars are social service vouchers so that rich and poor would know what it’s like to be the other.
I would allow past and future to switch places. No particular reason other than to confuse the heck out of the present.
I would recolor every painting of Jesus to the darker-skinned, wooley haired figure written of in the Bible and survey how many still “identify” with Christ. And I would gift-wrap these paintings with a note, each packaged delivered to a KKK rally, And on those notes this question for The Klan: “For you, who refer to Jews as bloodsuckers and people you hate just because they breathe, is this Jewish person Jesus Christ of whom the painting refers, one of those bloodsuckers?”
I would give every individual who complains about government regulation a country to live in with only one law, “Everything is legal except for leaving this country.” Think about it…
I would take a page from the youngins who have a tooth fairy, and bring equality to the elder by lobbying for a false tooth fairy!
I would return each of us to the womb for one task and one task only. To cast a vote as to whether abortion should be legal in our country. And outside the womb, I would place a doctor who will carry out either an abortion or a delivery based on the vote cast.
I would change international law such that all wars must be fought by death matches between world leaders.
I would eradicate senseless words from our vocabulary. I would start with “best” and “worst”. They are the sources of fierce arguments and debates. But I cannot attach them to anyone or anything with certainty.
I would give every woman a chance to look as beautiful as Halle Berry or live a beautifully as Mother Theresa. And I would wait for the run on extra small dresses or extra large acts of kindness.
I would get the internal clocks of myself and those little sheep on the same timing. Seems like when I try to get some sleep, they are up jumping over fences! And while I’m at it, I would teach those sheep to use letters other than “Zzz .. Zzz .. Zzz .. Zzz”.
And I would give the Statute of Liberty a sex change. Men want to be free too!
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