Your One and Only Life
“We are all called upon to do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
What are you doing with your one and only life?
On September eighth, 2002, while free diving in a swim area with my son near Santa Barbara, California, I was ran over by a boat that violated the “No Boats Allowed” signs. I was essentially cut in half. I prayed “Help me Jesus.”*
Floating in my own blood and shredded flesh, my body throbbing with unbelievable pain; I realized my injuries were deadly.
Please let me talk with my son one last time. Let me say good-bye.
I hope my other kids will forgive me for not saying goodbye.
What will become of my little girl? She’s only fourteen.
Just like my father before me, nothing like death to let you know what really matters: Family. Friends. Love. Almost all of my dying thoughts were centered on the people I love. All that really matters in this one and only life are people.
My entire adult life I had worked towards the goals of being on the leading edge of technology – specifically in the fields of spacecraft and exploration. I’ve stood under thundering Titan Four rockets so powerful the blast shook the ground thirty miles away. I’ve worked with Radars and sensors so sophisticated that only a guy named Mister Spock had better ones. I ran the operations and maintenance crews at the Vandenberg AFB weather station, a facility valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. I was up for a promotion on my company’s contract with the Deep Space Network and JPL that controls the Mars rovers and other Deep Space probes. I was on the verge of achieving my childhood dreams.
Yet there in the water that day, none of that mattered. None. Rather, I was thankful to God for the life he had given me…my family in particular. All that mattered was seeing my sons one last time; telling my daughters I loved them.
In his letter to the believers at Phillipi, the apostle Paul went into great detail about his lofty position and accomplishments before he met Jesus Christ: a leader of the Hebrews, a Roman citizen, righteous in the law, a leader among men…Yet he considered it all “rubbish” for the cause of Christ.
Why is it that it took a fourteen inch, two thousand RPM propeller for me to learn the lesson that all those high-tech accomplishments were meaningless? Was it pride? Probably. Busyness? I don’t know. But I do know that now, on the far side of that brutal accident, I want to spend my life, my one and only life, doing what really matters.
Here in the United States, every now and then the members of Congress, both the Senate and the House, give eloquent speeches on simplifying the tax code. Per the Cato Institute, in 2003 there were 54,846 pages in the IRS tax codes and regulations. The Pharisees of Jesus’ time were like-minded to our government. They took truths of the scriptures and added hundreds of laws God never intended that burdened the Jewish people into a religion of performance. In Matthew 22:34-40, a Pharisee testing Jesus asked what the greatest commandment was. Matt 22:37-40 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.‘ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.‘ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
In Luke ten, an “expert in the law” tested Jesus: “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied with the well-known parable of the good Samaritan, a man who lovingly cared for a man society deemed his enemy.
So, what really matters? According to Jesus, love. That’s it…love. It makes sense when you consider that John4 says “God is love.”
Following the boating accident, questions about my own life remained, my one and only life: What have I done for God? Have I done enough? What more could I do? How have I loved God and loved others?
God changed me through this accident. He gave me a new passion for others. Although the accident left me permanently disabled, I am leading the most fulfilling life I’ve ever had.
Are you looking for a more fulfilling “one and only life?”
As a Professional Life Coach, I’ve developed tools for helping others discover a new vision for their life, their “one and only life.” Specifically, I have a free tool at my website called the “V.I.P. Vision Toolkit.” This valuable resource will help you discover your Values, Identity and Passions. Further, it is free.
Or perhaps you know what you want to accomplish, but even though you have the time, money, people and other resources you need, somehow you’ve never actually achieved this vision.
We all have a “propeller” out there waiting for us. Choose to do today what really matters with “your one and only life.”
Thanks and blessings,