Andrew and I snuck away for a little pre-anniversary getaway at the beach. Don’t worry, we left the kids plenty of food and water…
(I kid. MeMe and Grampaw have the whole crew well in hand and I suspect none of them care one whit if we ever come back.)
We’ve had a wonderful time, of course, sitting on the beach with our books and a bag of trail mix between us. I spent one morning out in the sun thinking I was under some shade only I wasn’t so much and I’ve burned the heck out of my Motherboard. (I don’t have washboard abs, I have Motherboard Abs. Strong underneath a layer of stretch marks and elastic skin that I wear proudly.) It’ll be all loose and flowy dresses for me until The Fire is off my belly.
Last night, we went to a fancy steakhouse for dinner, this being our official Fifteen Year Anniversary Thing even though that’s still a few weeks away. Over our meal, we talked about our marriage – what needed attention, our lives – what needed adjusting, and our future – what needed more vision or goals.
Andrew began telling me about a podcast he listened to where a magazine editor asked himself, “What would you do if you knew you only had six months left to live?”
That guy’s answer had something to do with family and a cross country bicycle trip across America. Andrew looked at me and asked, “So what would you do if you only had six months to live?”
I stared across the table at the tiny candle that flickered and thought for a minute. Of course, my initial answers involved family. I would want to spend every last minute with my people. And then, as my brain pondered the idea of a trip or a pursuit that would Matter, I felt the wet prickles start to burn in my eyes.
I took a long slug of water and tried to fight it. Finally, I blubbered out, “I would take the kids with us to Uganda,” before the tears spilled over and I dove under my napkin for cover.
Such a thing hasn’t really officially been a dream of mine ever, although we’ve certainly discussed it before. But it suddenly struck me – Uganda was the perfect place to take them.
First, I’d like them to understand their sister, for Mira to see her home country again through my eyes, and for us to touch her history as a family. But second, I think the most important thing to leave my kids with is a sense of compassion for the world. I would want them to see life outside of our comfortable setting, to understand the hard things we face globally, and to be aware that the only One who can fix all of this is Jesus.
If I knew I was leaving six months from now, I’d want to be sure I’d done everything I could to give my kids a passion for the unreached, under privileged, and unprotected everywhere in this world. I’d want them to get to know another culture and grasp the depth of diversity of people in this great big world and how we all need Jesus.
I’d look them in the eye and say, “I didn’t raise you to be safe, no matter how much I tell you to wear a helmet. From the beginning, Daddy and I have been raising missionaries to carry the legacy of Christ and His work to others. No matter where you are in the world.”
Fortunately, I didn’t have to offer much explanation to Andrew. He instinctively understood as I viciously chewed a bite of steak and fought the flood of tears.
I took another deep swig of water and then pointed my fork at him, “You. Are. In. Big. Trouble. Mister.”
I hate to cry. And I really hate doing it in public places, like in a steakhouse by the beach. But there I sat, snuffling into my baked potato.
We had a good laugh (and I wiped my face) and then we talked further. That one question suddenly helped us begin to have a vision for goals we should set for the next five years. (After all, as far as we know, we’ve got more than six months.) It’s given me more to ponder on the beach in between reading fluffy novels and fighting Andrew for the M & Ms in our trail mix.
And I thought it was a good question to ask you, sweet Eyeballs: What would YOU do if you knew you only had six months to live?
I’d love to hear your answer…
*Please hear my heart on this, I’m in no way making light of the very real life situations where people are forced to answer this question. I simply think it’s a question we all should ask… often, given that none of us knows how long we have on this earth. Thanks for understanding.