“You’ve got 12 minutes.”
That’s what one warning on the Hawaiian news agency stated. 12 minutes before the bomb was to hit, 12 minutes to live.
What do you do?
What if you had two kids — each one of them playing at houses 8 blocks away in different directions and you could only go be with one of them? What do you do?
What if you didn’t feel comfortable with your life, your decisions, your relationship with your God? With your spouse?
Shit gets real — and fast — in a blast-radius moment like that.
I would like to think that — assuming I was with my family — there’d be zero regrets. Zero bargaining with God. Zero fear. Only love. How cool would that be?
I hope I would just hug and kiss my wife and my kids for all 12 minutes, tears bathing our faces. Good tears. Tears filled with memories, forgiveness, appreciation.
Just 12 minutes.
There’d be no time to call anyone. The phone lines would just be jammed, anyway. No time to worry about material things — those trappings wouldn’t matter. No time to do anything but be. Be who you are. Accept that your book was written. Submit to the moment and accept the reality.
There was a recent post made by an Australian woman, Holly Butcher, who, at 27, was losing her battle to cancer. In this eloquent note she authored — written the day before she died — she uttered:
I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.
Powerful words, those.
Oh, and this Australian Millennial penned these wise nuggets, too:
You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling. Let all that shit go.. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole.
Care to complain anymore about too much ice in your Coke?
Oh, and remember, she was dying, so she’s an expert in this stuff. She had precious little more than 12 minutes — maybe 12 hours — when she wrote this, but the point is still the same. Listen to her. She’s talking to you and she’s talking to me.
Here’s your good news: you don’t have that “Yoke of Death” on your pimply shoulders, do you? Take Holly’s experience — and the recent Hawaii false warning — as one of the greatest gifts ever: an opportunity to hit Life’s Reset Button without having to go through a traumatic illness or near-death experience.
I think God gifts us these moments — if we’re willing to listen — to profoundly touch our souls, lovingly calling us to think in radically different ways. Better ways. More meaningful ways. To allow us to tap into the core of our all that matters to our soul.
But place yourself back in Hawaii again for that 12-minute moment. Would you be doing a lot of bargaining with God then? A lot of regretting? Or, would peace, warmth and light wash over you, enveloping your whole being. Any way you answer that should be quite telling to your soul. And, in the next breath, informing you of what to do next.
Maybe you want to become more thankful. More giving — and FORgiving. More soft to those in need. Less judgmental to those with whom you disagree. More other-centered. I know I could stand to take some of that advice from time-to-time. Guilty as charged.
But 12 minutes. People across an entire state actually had to face that realization. As the warning stated: this was not a drill. Stunning.
Think of this Hawaii incident as akin to your escaping unscathed from, say, a horrible accident or life-threatening illness. You survived; good for you. Now, make that realization mean something, to re-think the reason for your existence.
To value people, not things. To value experiences, not money. To walk in forgiveness — forgiveness not only of others, but also of yourself.
To be, not to do. To love radically, in radically new ways. To redefine your why you’re alive.
Oh, and your belief about where all the goodness of life comes from, I believe, is binary; it’s like a coin flip: either everything’s a miracle and from God, or nothing’s a miracle and there is no God. There really is no in-between. There can’t be.
Whatever side of that afterlife coin you pay homage to, good for you. I just think you owe it to yourself to get extreme clarity on which side it is that you fall. And why. No more of this agnostic crap. Then own that realization, whatever it is, wearing it like a just-won Olympic medal for everyone to see.
If you feel that nothing happens when you die, then you’re good as is. No need to change a thing because, to you, it’s all a just an eternal dirt-nap. I respect that you feel that way and am not trying to change you.
But, if the Hawaii incident or Holly’s note has made you think there just may be something after you’ve punched Life’s Time Clock — and, importantly, you have some concerns about what’s coming next — then you really need to examine that.
Your today and your tomorrow — and your forever — depend on it.
— 30 —