Would you choose forever?
I don't mean forever in a timeless afterlife. Although I believe in Heaven, and although I believe we'll know who we are and were when we get there, I think it will be an existence where time simply has no meaning, where events and relationships will not be marked by their sequential relationship to one another and to a perceived "present."
My brother-in-law is in grave danger of death. He's 38. On May 11 he was in London at Upton Park, watching his team, Aston Villa, finish their season away to West Ham. Within about a week he was back home, diagnosed with a nasty tumor, a liposarcoma, that was growing faster than a weed. By the time they'd extracted it a few weeks later, it had grown to 30 lbs. They had to remove a kidney, adrenal gland, part of his liver, and part of his colon. Complications ensued. The pain was horrific, and the pain medications played havoc with his digestive system, keeping him from recovering properly from the surgery, which delayed initiation of chemotherapy.
Now they just have to go for it. The cancer is growing fast again, throughout his abdomen, all of the little pieces they couldn't get out during the first surgery.
It doesn't look good for our hero. I hang onto hope, because as long as there is breath and a doctor willing to try, there is hope.
When I take a break from just worrying for him, I think about time. A young man with all the time in the world finds he may be running out of time, possibly counting the remainder in days rather than years. Whenever time is running out, we always wish for a little more. One more day of vacation, one more night to work on that project, one more afternoon to spend with the kids, one more hour to complete that essay, 30 more minutes before going to bed, ten more minutes to finish the test, One more minute for one more kiss. We always want more.
Would we ever stop wanting a little more time?
Would we ever get to the point where we say, "Well, now that's just enough, turn out the lights already?"
I know some people do. People who've given up, who can't find a way through the pain. I don't even begin to understand that kind of hurt, and I hope I never find out what it feels like.
I can't imagine, knowing who I am now anyway, getting to the point where'd I'd just be ready to take off. Even though I look at it as the "final adventure," I can't see how I would be ready to just cross the threshold and head into the west.
If we didn't have to go, if our little flesh-tents didn't fall to pieces from eighty years of misuse and abuse, wouldn't there always be something in tomorrow for most of us? Kids, grandkids, great grandkids, great-great-great grandkids. Wouldn't it be worth another twenty years to get to know the next batch?
Yeah, yeah, there are whole stacks of side-issues; populations, finance, health, blah-blah-blah. That's not my point.
Knowing what you know of yourself now, however little that may be, can you see yourself getting to the end and just saying, "Yup, ready to go."
And don't just give me the answer you think makes you sound wise. I hate that phony crap. Tell on yourself. Would you step across in your own power? Or would you take another day, and another, and another, just to see what was in store?
I know what I would do.
After all, think of what you can accomplish with just one more day.