The Obituary Game


Reminders of the brevity of life are all around, sometimes even coming in the mail. I was shocked to realize how much I was aging when I received a membership application from AARP the summer when I turned 50. As I stood at the mailbox wondering why I would be receiving mail from AARP, it hit me like a ton bricks: I became eligible to be an AARP member by turning 50! Something about the number 50 intimidated me—50 felt old. Turning 50 reminded me that I was getting closer to my death—that I had fewer years left to live than I had already lived. I had never thought of myself as being old before I received that letter.

I now intentionally surround myself with reminders of life’s brevity. When I pick up a newspaper, I turn to the obituary page to read about people who have died after living lives shorter than my own. Doing so reminds me that I might die at any time. It also helps me think of the days and years that extend my life as being days and years of grace. In the last few years, I have lost two dear friends, one aged 61 and the other aged 62. I carry their pictures in my day timer to remind me daily that life is short—that I have no guarantee of living a certain number of years.

I want to make my short life count by living for what matters.  For some time now, I have wanted to write about things that matter.  I have discovered that the only subject on which I feel qualified to write—is my life.  With this blog and my other writing projects, I have asked the Lord to give me a spirit of openness and transparency as I write. The writers who have influenced me most over the years have been those who have courageously shared lessons they have learned from brokenness, wounds, and struggles in their own lives. What I write comes from my own spiritual journey—from birth to 58 years old. I pray that some of the life lessons I write about will resonate within your own soul. I also pray that you will share your own spiritual journey with others. As someone reminded me, our stories don’t belong to ourselves. Rather, our stories belong to each other, and ultimately they belong to God, the author of life. We should all want to live well during our brief time on Earth, but we should also want to help others live well. I pray that reading this blog will help you live your life for what matters, influencing others to do the same.

Every morning, I try to read from the works of Henri Nouwen and E. Stanley Jones, both now dead, who in their writings mentor me in my life’s journey. I hope that long after I have put aside my earthly tent, a few people will still read the blogposts and books that I have written. I will try my best to be authentic and transparent, writing about things that I hope will strike a chord in your heart, helping you in your journey with the Lord. No one should travel through life alone—so I hope these meditations of a fellow traveler help you in your own life’s journey.

Question: Are you ready to turn to the obituary page?

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”

(Psalm 90:12)

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