My uncle went to be with Jesus yesterday. Seven months ago he was diagnosed with end stage brain cancer, but now he is partying it up in Heaven, probably in white, but still wearing his sneakers. I imagine him sitting with CS Lewis, the two of them drinking red wine and philosophizing life, politics and Narnia.
These past seven months I have seen him fight. I have seen him worship. I have seen him speak in tongues when he could no longer speak words (it bypassed his brain, don’t tell me that the Holy Spirit isn’t real). I have seen him gain a sense of humour unlike any he ever had before. I have seen him up-close and personal.
I have seen and I have learned.
Today I want to share with you some things I’ve re-learned in the last 24 hours. Because sometimes it takes a little reality check to remember the important things in life.
1. Make more friends. To my knowledge, no one on their deathbed ever said, “I wish I had more twitter followers.”
2. Drink red wine (if you are legal, you little rebel). My uncle was the healthiest man I have ever known. His diet was stricter than Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. His one allowance was a glass or two of red wine in the evening. A man after my own heart. When he got sick and moved in with us, this became our tradition. We would sit on the balcony and someone would take the shift, fill up a glass and join him. Some of my best memories of him are with a glass in hand on the balcony. Cheers Uncle Jim.
3. Joy is a choice. Choose it. Happiness is a feeling but joy is a choice. Sometimes we just gotta tell our soul that today, we are choosing joy. It’s amazing how the feeling follows, no matter the circumstance.
4. Prioritise family. It’s a weird moment when you look around and realize that your siblings are your best friends. That your parents are your side kicks in life. I’m lucky to have the best family on the entire planet, and it’s easy to be grateful for them but whatever kind of family you find yourself in, find something to be grateful for. Tell them you love them. They won’t be around forever. Bring out embarrassing photos. Make memories.
5. Offense is a waste of time. Life is too short. Offense only ever kills our joy and poisons our heart. People can be jerks, there is bad in the world, but let’s not get caught up in it. Focus on the good, there’s lots of that too.
6. Love Jesus. I am jealous of my uncle’s relationship with Jesus. Is that allowed? Whatever. I’m not bitter. I’m inspired. He worshipped him at every opportunity. I love that. I want that. I plan to pursue that for the rest of my life.
Life is short, make the most of it. Do something crazy. Go for a midnight swim. Watch the sun rise. Go on a date. Climb a tree. Call in sick and do whatever you feel like. Go all “Yes Man” on your life. Why not?