Thursday

"Jar-based" Living

As I sit on my couch writing this commentary, I am enjoying a beautiful spring evening. The doors are open, letting the fresh air in, and I can hear birds chirping. I can also hear my son and his friend, who are outside playing catch. They are yelling and having a good ol’ time. In the kitchen, my other two sons are making dinner and joking around. It’s all very pleasant indeed.

These evenings won’t last long. They’ll be gone in a flash. Next year my eldest son will be a senior and that year will go quickly. It seems like yesterday I was starring at his wriggling form just after he was born wondering what to do.

The apostle Paul said that “we have this treasure in jars of clay …” The term “jars of clay” describes human beings perfectly. We are here today and gone tomorrow. One day we are a child, the next we day we are graduating from high school. Two days later, we’re retiring and our bodies just are not what they used to be. Well, I’m not anywhere close to retiring and my body is not what it used to be!

A church in our town is conducting a class called “A Bucket List for Dying.” The Rev. Terilynn Russ derived the name from the movie “The Bucket List,” starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. In this movie, the two men, who are dying, make a list of everything they want to do before they die. Their adventures get a little crazy, but it’s a great idea. While Russ’ class is not so much about doing everything you want before “kicking the bucket,” so to speak, it is about making preparations before death, such as what kind of care is desired and living wills.

As someone who became a widow before the age of 40, I cannot stress the importance of thinking about death before it is necessary, before emotions are raw, or before an accident happens. I will never forget what it was like to sign a “do not resuscitate” order right in front of my husband minutes after the hospice worker told us that he only had a few days to live. I will also never forget that one of our last conversations, just a couple of days before cancer stole his voice, was how he wanted his funeral to be conducted. No one thinks that they will go through this kind of thing before they are old, but remember “we have this treasure in jars of clay.” Jars of clay are easily broken. We have to be prepared as much as is humanly possible.
God has given us good things in life. As Christians, we can also look forward to eternity with him, but taking care of those we leave behind is essential. It is the best kind of care and will relieve some of the burden for ourselves and our families.