I turned 46 years old the other day. Yup, I’m an old fart. Back in the day, when I was still a young fart, I used to pray to God to take me by my 35th birthday, because who in their right mind would want to live past that, right?! As I got closer to that target date birthday, I kindly asked God MANY times for an extension on my original prayer. It wasn’t so much that I was afraid of death at that point, I just hadn’t accomplished many of the things I really wanted to: being a successful touring musician; um………..yeah, I guess that’s it! Thankfully, God didn’t have plans on granting said death request, because I’m still here making noise any way I can!
In 2006, my son was born. I never wanted children, because again, who in their right mind would want to raise a child in this horrendous world we live in?! However, Logan Tyler Mercury Orris has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. My wife and I were so happy when he reached his first birthday for the simple reason that we had kept him alive to reach that landmark occasion! Over the years, it has brought me great joy to teach him and watch him grow as a person.
I think it was two years ago, when he started third grade, that I started having bad dreams regarding my son. The kind of dreams where he would die in my arms and there was nothing I could do about it. I’d wake up in a cold sweat and go check on Logan. As tears were profusely leaking out of my eyes, I’d watch intently to make sure that his chest was rising and falling as he slept. After seeing that my son was still with us, I’d attempt to fall back to sleep, many times unsuccessfully. These dreams were the start of my thinking about death again. You see, after I made it past my 35th birthiversary, I had stopped thinking so much about leaving this planet and joining the eternal choir to sing of our Father’s glory for all eternity. These dreams, though…these horrible dreams about my son dying in my arms, well, they started the thoughts of death again. Thoughts about what would happen if my wife or son died, or if I was taken from my family. As a professing Christian, how would I handle such a situation? Would I question God? Would I maintain my faith through the grieving process? Have I done what is necessary to make sure my family is taken care of in case I die?
I’m getting depressed just writing those questions out, haha!
So here I am, 46 years old now, and thinking about death more than ever! I’ve posted on social networking sites about this topic, not so much to start conversations, but just to try and purge the thoughts from my mind, with little to no success. I’ve had friends tell me matter of factly to stop thinking about death, and believe me, I wish I could. I realize that these thoughts are often counter-productive to actually living the life I’ve been given, and I have repented for that on numerous occasions. Believe me, I WANT to be a righteous man who keeps his eyes on the eternal prize and runs the race as best as I can. My faith continues to grow as I get older, but so does the list of questions that I have regarding our time on earth.
If I were to die tomorrow, do I feel that my son knows what a relationship with God truly is? Have I done a good enough job teaching him to respect others and to help them as much as possible? Have I made my wife’s life better? Have I been an example to others of what it means to truly love God and serve others? Will people remember me with fondness and gladness? Do I even WANT to be remembered?! Upon my departure from Earth, and my arrival at Judgment Day, will God say “well done, good and faithful servant, enter into your rest”?
So many questions, not nearly enough answers. Why am I writing this blog and putting it out there? Because I want to start a conversation with y’all. Am I alone in thinking about this crap, or do any of you think about it as well? I don’t believe this is a mid-life crisis I am going through, but perhaps that’s what is happening…...maybe? Let’s talk. What are your thoughts on life and death, as it pertains to YOUR life?
With all these questions, I can say that I am grateful to serve a God who doesn’t mind us asking them. Even when I don’t have the answers, I take great comfort in the thought that God wants us to ask questions in order to gain wisdom and knowledge. Another thing that helps me break through these thoughts/questions when they hit me the hardest is the song “More To This Life” by Steven Curtis Chapman. I’ll conclude this post with the chorus to said song, with the hopes that some of you reading this will engage in conversation, and we can attempt to get some answers to our questions in regards to life and death:
“But there's more to this life than living and dying,
More than just trying to make it through the day;
More to this life, more than these eyes alone can see,
And there's more than this life alone can be”