"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15, 16).
Celine Dion is the Canadian superstar in the elite club of musicians who has sold over 220 million albums. But in 2014 she stepped away from her career.
The first thing she did was to renew her wedding vows. The singer's personal world had fallen apart when her husband and manager, Rene Angelil, was diagnosed with throat cancer. Despite surgery and 38 radiation treatments, he lost his life, but the whole experience caused Celine to change her values. You see, when death stares you in the face, what you think is important pales quickly and some of the things you didn't much prioritize suddenly become meaningful. Thinking of losing the man she deeply loved, her platinum albums, awards, and accolades weren’t as important as cooking, sitting by the fireplace and family time.
She said, "Cancer makes you put the right things in the right places. It awakens you, changes you and makes life more intense. We are living every second of every day. I know what's important and what's not."
Few people can really say that, and few will ever take the major step of stepping out of a storybook career. You certainly didn’t hear about the loss of up to the moment celebrity status or waterfall of cash. Celene Dion gained in her time at her husband’s side, what can never be bought any other way.
After she found out that she was dying from cancer, Erma Bombeck--a humorist who made her readers laugh at themselves--wrote a book entitled, If I Had My Life to Live Over. In this well-worth-reading book she included the following in response to that premise--if I had my life to live over. She said, "I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have talked less and listened more. I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room, and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains. There would have been more 'I love yous,' more 'I'm sorrys.'" Concluding she says, "But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute…look at it and really see it…live it..and never give it back."
Long ago King Hezekiah was told to set his house in order because he was going to die. Then God had mercy and gave him another fifteen years--something that happens to few of us.
Whether you’re 25, 50, 75 or even older, you have no assurance that you will live another year or another decade. You see those such as Celine and Erma Bombeck who have stared death in the face, reorder their priorities. You can still do that.
You can say it now; you can do it now; you can enjoy it now. Some things won't wait, so you had better determine what is important--another accomplishment or an afternoon with the people that you love.
Take time to reread the Gospels and notice how Jesus' life priorities were so different from ours. People, not power, were important. Smell the flowers. Listen to the birds sing and give it away instead of stockpiling it for a rainy day.
Those who can reorder their priorities and really do it, are blessed. Think about it. Will you change while there’s still time?