Living For What Truly Matters

by Patrick Liew on June 18, 2011

I have faced death a few times in my lifetime.

Once, I saw a beach ball bobbing on the water near the beach. I swam to try and retrieve it.

Little did I know; the tide was receding strongly and fast. Both the ball and me were being swept further and further away from the shores. By the time I decided to turn back, the trees on the beach look like little specks.

Storm clouds were beginning to form in the sky and the waves were getting rougher. I was very tired and I swam with whatever strength I have left to try and make it back. Meanwhile, I prayed like I have never prayed before to be alive.

Another time; my family and me got lost while trekking in the Malaysian jungle. We were not prepared to stay in the jungle neither did we have any food to sustain us.

Meanwhile, the sun was setting. I knew when darkness sets in, our chances of survival were slim.

On another jungle trip, I swam in a river and was caught by the convergence of two undercurrents. I swam with all my energy but somehow I could not edge a single inch to reach the river bank.

If I stopped trying, I could have been swept downstream and might have ended in a watery grave. My life could have been snuffed out like a candle flame.

I have also been kidnapped in a third world country with armed guards watching over me around the clock. And because I saw their faces, I thought they would never let me out alive even if my family gave them the money they wanted.

These were but only some of the incidents when my life was literally hanging by the thread.

When I reflected upon these incidents; the more I thought about it, the more I realised there were also other situations when I could have easily lost my life. Let me share two of them with you.

Growing up in a poor family, I was left to fend for myself most of the time. Anything could have happened. I was caught, for example, in a few fights and any one of which could have ended in a tragedy.

While serving my National Service in the army, there were more than a few occasions when bullets were flying above my head and a stray one could have easily ended my life. Either that or a hand grenade could have exploded in my face.

Some of my soldiers, for some reasons, could not throw a grenade forward. They would somehow throw it a few meters right above us.

Both ways, we could have killed our ‘enemies’. Our ‘enemies’ could have died laughing when they saw our grenades coming straight down at us.

Jokes aside, the reality is, it does not matter what background one comes from, every human will have to come face to face with death. And it can happen anywhere and at any time.

I am not afraid of death. I am more afraid that I have not lived the way our Creator wants me to live.

I am afraid of not finding something that is worth dying for. And if I cannot have something that is worth dying for, I will have nothing worthwhile to live for and that, to me, is worse than dying.

Because I know I may not have another second to live, I want to treasure every second that is given to me. Every second matters.

If life can disappear like the morning mist, I do not want to wait to do what really counts. I want to start taking action now.

I want to look after my health so that I can live until I am 140 years of age or older. There’s so much in life for me to learn, enjoy, achieve and contribute.

More importantly, it is not how long I live for – but whether the good that I have done will last beyond my lifetime.

When I was born, everybody was happy while I was crying. Hopefully, when I die, I will be happy to go to a better place and everybody will be crying because they miss me.

When I come face to face with death; just like my previous near-death experiences, the story of my life will be flashed across my mind. When that happens again, I want to be able to enjoy the mental movie.

Death for me is just another door to exit from this life and to gain entry into a much better one. Because of that, it does not strike fear and terror in me anymore.

Living for what truly matters for eternity begins right now.


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