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To Be Alive

“Although time seems to fly by, it never travels faster than one day at a time. Each day is a new opportunity to live your life to the fullest.” Steve Maraboli.

One of my favorite teachers was a large gentle man. He had white hair and a quick smile. There was also something about him that was different - he seemed to know something the rest of us were missing. Each day before class began he prayed and almost every time he prayed he became moved, almost to tears. Moreover, he never said “Amen”. In that moment of prayer, we experienced him beholding God and then he invited us to be a part of it. The class itself became part of the prayer.

This made some people feel uncomfortable. It drew me in. It made me want to know more about him. It made me want to get to where I was so close to God that it moved me to behold him. My teacher was fully present to God and each of us as well. When you spoke to him, he gave you his full attention, so much so, that at times, it felt like he saw the depth of your soul. He was in the moment and in a way beyond the moment. There was a sense of peace about him. There was a sense of joy about him. He was fully alive.

I was reminded of my teacher after hearing the novelist, Ann Patchett share her experience of walking with two friends as they battled cancer.* One thing she learned is that “The question isn’t how long you live. The question is whether or not you can remember that you’re alive.”

Have you considered what it is to be alive?

It seems like an obvious thing but as Oscar Wilde said,” To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” It can be easy to put off living - to wait until after you are settled or move or get the promotion or get the degree or complete the thing you are waiting for. You can put off living fully until after the surgery or after you retire or after you catch up or after you become the image of the person you think you should be. Remember you are alive now!

You don’t have to go skydiving to be alive, although you can if you want to. To be alive means to behold what is right in front of you and enjoy each day you have. To be alive means to love and to be loved. To be alive is to receive the goodness and blessing waiting for you today. To be alive is to set out to be a blessing to others. To be alive is to be present to God and yourself and those around you.

Jesus said, “I came that they may have life” (Jn 10:10b) You can grow more and more into the fullness of life by being near him. He can be your teacher. He is praying for you. Your life can become part of his prayer.


* “Ann Patchett: Behold, These Precious Days” on Everything Happens with Kate Bowler.


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