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Aaron Johnson: Turning the page

Tomorrow, we will turn the page on the calendar and begin a new year.

Funny, the year is new but I just don’t feel it. It may be a new year but my body reminds me that no matter how new the year, the equipment is still a 1960 model.

Time seems to be accelerating at an alarming rate. Is it possible that the earth is actually moving more rapidly around the sun that it did when we were in grade school?

We set up the Christmas tree and as soon as the house is well decorated, the tree is at the curb awaiting pick up by the street department. Seasons are passing so quickly that we don’t even get tired of one before the next is upon us. Every day we live, there are fewer people on earth older than us, and more people younger than us  That was just to cheer us up a bit.

Several years ago, I read a book entitled, “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. Randy was a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University. As a young man, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was given a short time to life. His university has a tradition of asking a retiring professor to give one last lecture to the entire faculty and student body. Randy was not retiring in the traditional sense, however, his terminal illness meant that soon he would end his time in the classroom. The university invited him to give his final lecture.

If you can, please read the book. It is certainly not a great work of theology. It is, however, a great book as a person reflects on his life and offers some lessons he has learned. It is rich in reflective content.

We all have an expiration date. Some are fortunate enough to find out the general date a few months in advance. Twice I have been given an expiration date. When you are given that date you are also give the gift of clarity. When you get that date, the gutters don’t seem to matter much anymore. The second doughnut seems more logical. Friends seem dearer. There is no better mirror for a person’s true character than hearing an expiration date. How do you think you will react?

As we all face a new year with older bodies, let me challenge you to do a couple of things.  First, realize that all things are temporary. Only death is permanent. When we realize the transitory nature of all things, we can appreciate the good with more pleasure, and endure the bad with more grace since both are passing quickly.  

Spend more time with good friends and family. It is never too late to gain a good friend. Cherish the old ones while reaching new ones.

Don’t let work rule your life. Having stood with a thousand friends who were passing, none regretted taking a day off from work. Honestly, I can’t recall a single person say, “I wish I had spent more time at work.”

Find what you were created to do. Then do it with passion. Death is not the greatest tragedy. The greatest tragedy is dying without having ever really lived. I would hate to die having never done what I was created to do.

Love liberally. If we love the ones who love us, then we are really no better than the heathens. Even they love those who love them. However, when we love the ones that are a little hard to love, we grow rich.  

Be a friend to the poor. The Bible says when we give to the poor we are lending to God. I like that!

Aaron Johnson is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. He is pastor of Christ Redeemer Church in Guntersville.

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