Charles Krauthammer died this past week at age 67 following a battle with cancer. Krauthammer was a psychiatrist whose life totally changed after a diving accident at 22 left him paralyzed from the neck down. He would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, but he refused to let being in that chair define him. He would become one of the defining voices in conservative politics, a Pulitzer Prize-winningcolumnist, respected author, and well-known political commentator.
As his condition progressed, Krauthammer stopped his appearances on Fox News, and he basically fell out of the national eye. On June 8, he wrote his final piece in The Washington Post, telling his readers he only had a few weeks to live, “This is the final verdict. My fight is over.” The following statement sums up that final column and his life--
I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life— full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.
How many of us will leave this world saying, “I have no regrets.” How many of us are living the life that we have intended?
In Friday’s reading from Psalm 39, David reflects on the brevity of life and the certainty of its end. David’s reflection was caused by his desire to do and say the right thing… and by how hard it is to carry out that resolve. So he asks God to give him a sense of what is at stake; he wants God to let him see the end from the middle—
Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. (Psalms 39:4-5)
We need to get over the fantasy that we will live forever; we all have an expiration date. Our days really are numbered, so we must live in such a way as to make each day count. Only God knows when our days will run out, so we need to live like every day is our last… and is important. May God give us the faith and resolve to live each day so that at the end of our days, we have no regrets.