I though about titling this post “Gone at 66” because, at the age of 56, I answered some questions on one of those Internet sites designed to predict one’s life expectancy. The result of that questionnaire was startling. Given my family history, my occupation, my lifestyle, and my diet, the computer predicted that I would die at age 66.
So I joke a lot about my “Early Exit Plan” and my expectation to be gone soon. But my family and friends aren’t really amused by my dark humor.
Just for the sake of clarity, I put no legitimate stock in that prediction. Nor am I planning to take matters into my own hands to fulfill the prophecy. According to God’s Word, my days are numbered by His sovereign decree and I cannot add a single day to my life beyond His will. However, if He calls up my number at 66, I’m really O.K. with that; I am ready to go and look forward with excitement and anticipation to the day when He carries me away to Heaven and sooner is better than later.
Having worked in the elder care industry for over 16 years, I have seen scores of funerals and memorial services. I have experienced the joyful celebrations around the homegoings of the saints and I have seen the fear and heard the horrible wailings around the deaths of those who are eternally lost. When my time is up, I want to go out with dignity and grace. I want my family around me as we sing, and joke, and laugh, and share our memories. And I want them to share my joyful anticipation of Heaven.
As foolish as that Internet prediction was, it serves as a very sobering reminder that life is a vapor and death can take any of us at any moment.
Last month I turned the corner on 63 years and I thought about how quickly the years have passed and how soon age 66 can arrive.
I realize that I am running out of time and I may not be here to see any of my eight grandchildren reach adulthood. My own grandparents all died before I reached the age of ten. Apart from a few, faint and fleeting childhood memories, I know very little about them. That is one of the reasons I started blogging. I wanted to leave something tangible of myself that, I hope, will give my grandchildren some glimpses of my life, my sarcastic sense of humor, and the experiences that formed my attitudes, values, and beliefs about life, politics, and faith.
So archived here in cyberspace, is my blog; a compilation of several years of my writings. Some are anecdotal stories and illustrations from my own experiences that I have written for publication in newspapers and magazines. Others are assorted and disconnected smatterings of my opinions, positions and philosophies on a myriad of different subjects. And, sprinkled throughout are other, somewhat irreverent, musings and sarcastic samplings of things that seemed humorous or relevant to me at the time.
Whatever memories they have of me after I’m gone, the most important thing I want them to know is that I have loved them all very much. And I want, more than anything, for them to know God's mercy and saving grace. I pray that they will each look for Jesus Christ at an early age; that they will make sure of their own salvation; and that they will serve God faithfully. And I hope to see them all again in Heaven.
Update - This year (2015) I woke up on the first day of March to find myself 67 years old and still not dead. Once again God has demonstrated that His sovereignty trumps my plans.