Sometimes, I like to pretend I’m never going to die.
Oh I know that spiritually I will never die – that I have eternal life.
That’s not what I mean.
I mean the part where – if I’m what people say is very, very lucky – I will live only long enough to see my hair go gray (or fall out), my skin wrinkle up around eyes that have ceased to see, ears that strain to catch the words of loved ones (if I’ve got any left at that point) and a nose and mouth that have stopped providing happy adventures into taste and aroma.
I like to pretend that my body will never suffer a heart attack, get diabetes or cancer, fall and break its hip and be confined to a wheelchair.
I like to pretend that it’s not a very real possibility I will end my life in a nursing home, needing help to go the bathroom and to eat.
I like to pretend that there won’t come a day where people will stop encouraging me, “You’ve got your whole life ahead of you” and instead start talking about the legacy I need to leave for the next generation.
I like to pretend that I won’t look back on my 20s – what could be some highly productive years of life – and regret the days I spent camped-out in front of movies, chatting with friends on Facebook and watching cute kid videos. I like to pretend I’ll live long enough and be healthy enough to make up those days at some unspecified, later date.
I like to pretend there aren’t people my age who’ve already made a huge difference in their world.
I like to pretend I’m not part of a generation who’ve set their habits and moral compasses in the direction of a life absorbed by themselves and by triviality. Who may end up proven to be not the hero generation – but the deeply disappointed generation because we couldn’t pull ourselves away from Twitter long enough to do anything worth talking about.
I like to pretend that somehow I’ll get back the time I chose to spend watching TV reruns instead of reading a book. That somehow such wasted time is redeemable as “relaxation”.
I like to pretend that the window on living for a cause bigger than myself, for improving my mind and honing skills, for connecting with people and learning new ideas will always be open. I like to pretend that I will always have those options available to me.
I like to pretend I’m not going to die.
I like to pretend that one day, I’m not going to stand before a loving Father,
Who’s welcoming me Home.
I like to pretend that He’s not going to Whisper,
just as I cross the threshold,
“What did you do with the gifts and talents I gave you?”
Oh, dear Father, teach me to number my days. My heart needs to gain a bit more wisdom.