Living well

FullSizeRenderMy wife gave me three books for Valentine’s Day and a little box of chocolates. The books are Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News by Phillip Yancey, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well by Billy Graham (probably his last book), and Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace by Anne Lamott. The chocolates were from a small store in town that makes its own candy.

The chocolates were most surprising, because I have been on a sugar fast, at her insistence, for the last few weeks. What’s the deal here? Her instructions were to have the chocolate when I’m sitting down to actually enjoy it. Not to grab one because it’s there, or because I need a rush (there’s always a downer later), but to notice it — make it an event.

So I made the whole thing an event — the sitting down with a good book and a piece of chocolate. I had such a good time, I took a picture of my event. (Is this why my children post pictures of their food on social media all the time?)

What all this told me is that we need to make life more of an event. That doesn’t mean we have to do more special things; it means we need to make the things we do more special. To make something an event is to be more conscious of what we are doing, and what we are doing it for.

Life moves too fast. Everything is a run-on sentence. One task flows into the next without distinction. Time passes and you don’t know what you have done. This is not good. Life is more important than that.

On the cover of Billy Graham’s book is a picture of him sitting down with a notebook in his lap. I’ve seen this notebook before. I was on the platform with him once and saw him with the same book. It’s a three-ringed floppy-covered binder filled with letter-sized pages in large print on both sides, each in a plastic sheath so the pages can be grabbed easily and turned. This is his message book. It’s what he uses when he speaks. He’s holding in his lap the words he has brought to millions of people — the same words that have brought countless numbers of them to the Lord. I am one of them. What is he doing there if he’s not noticing … remembering … perhaps even re-assessing what he said? Or maybe this is a picture of him going over his message before giving it. Either way, it’s an event. Deliberate. He’s spending time with words — with what he came to do.

Turn your life into an event today. Notice what you are doing. Do it deliberately. Whether it’s working or playing, it’s all important. Make moments with yourself; make moments with others. Don’t let life happen to you; make life happen. It’s what you are here for. Billy Graham wants to finish well. I’m not into finishing yet, but I am into living well. I think they are the same thing.

The chocolate was delicious.

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6 Responses to Living well

  1. Sue says:

    John, thank you for today’s message, (as I gobble down a few m&ms). I’ve read the book and not yet ready to finish either, but ready to learn to enjoy where I am each day.

  2. Dorothy Zboyan says:

    John, I too thank Billy Graham. I was kneeling before the TV when God put me in Christ. I wondered what I had done. I was 65 years old. A few days later God woke me up, and it was as He said to me, ” Dorothy, you have not done anything, I did it all” and God has continued to do it all. Ro. 2:4 says, “Do you not know that it was the kindness of God that led you to repentance?” I could not even repent on my own. these have been the best years of my life. I am 96.

    Joy to you, Dorothy Grushow Zboyan

    • jwfisch says:

      Dorothy, you are incredible. May we adopt you as our matriarch? 96! And you sound healthy. Born again at 65. Unbelievable. Tell us more if you feel up to it. We are so honored to have you sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us. Thank you!

  3. Ann says:

    Thank you for todays message, John. I, too, am working at “staying in the moment” when doing something – it is so easy to fly through and not even glance back. It’s nice to have someone remind us when we aren’t – you are one lucky man to have Marti in your life! I am working diligently to slow down and take things in as I am doing them and eating a chocolate is a fine way to start! 🙂

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