Monday, August 27, 2012

Not ready to leave, but "ready to go"

In the space of the last two weeks, I've had to say goodbye to two friends/colleagues from the travel industry, Glenn Martin (49) and Mike Pusateri (53). 

Clearly both were way too young to leave this world and while neither was ready to leave their families, their friends, their companies/careers, I am comforted to know that both were "ready to go".

While being ready to leave and ready to go sound the same, I invite you to think about taking a trip and then we'll talk about this thing called life - and what we know as death.

In the travel analogy, when getting ready to go, first you think about what you will need for the trip.  You may have to make a trip to the drug store to get some last minute items, or apply for a visa for international travel (which may entail finding your passport if it has been awhile since you traveled).  
Some of you do this way ahead of time, and others (like me), throw everything in the suitcase at the last minute. 

Once the suitcase is packed, if it is a business trip, you may also need to clear your desk, give some instructions to those that you are leaving behind and get your briefcase ready.   Whether a business trip or a personal one, you may also throw a book or a neck pillow in a bag and perhaps even some snacks. 

You may have packed and gotten everything that you need for the trip, but you are not ready to say goodbye and actually get the trip underway.  Think about how many times you have turned to a friend or a loved one at the airport and said "I'm not ready to leave yet!".   The thing that makes it easier is that you generally know that you are coming back, so there is still time to do, share, be, enjoy, etc.

Getting Ready to Go

In this thing that we call death, getting ready to go is actually a pretty simple thing.  You may think it is akin to packing and there are all kinds of dos and don'ts and prerequisites.  Nope.  That is what the "church" may have told you.  But here is what God's Word says. 

Even if you don't go to church, most are familiar with John 3:16, quoted here from The Message Bible, extending to John 3:18. 

 16-18"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

If you have never acknowledged this truth, just close your eyes right now and thank your Maker for what he did in acquitting you.  You can't earn it.  You can't be good enough for it.  It is a gift and it is free. 

Then get ahold of a Message Bible (way easier to read than many other translations), either at your local Walmart, on Amazon or even on your iPad or iPhone (my favorite is, which allows you to look at other versions as well).  Get to know Him first by reading about Him. 

Start with what he says about you and your life.   Psalm 139 is where that can be found. 

Then, to build on that little mustard seed of faith that is sprouting in you (whether you can see it or not), find some others that are on a faith journey.  You'll be amazed at how many people you know actually have already been on this particular journey.  Church is clearly a place to start, but if they have a long list of do's and don'ts and you don't hear about love and grace when you go, search for another one.

Here is a link to messages from my Pastor, Dan Dunn of Real Life Church in Tampa.  You'll definitely learn about grace here. 

That's it.  He does the rest of the work in you, from the inside out.  Should your time come, you are ready.

Being Ready to Leave

"When you were born, you were crying & everyone else smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one smiling & everyone else crying."

Now being ready to leave in life is quite a different thing. 

Start by living, loving and laughing and most importantly re-prioritizing.  

I will leave you with a story about priorities from James Patterson.

Imagine that life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The five balls are: family, friends, health, integrity, and work. And you are keeping all of them in the air.

But one day you finally come to understand that "work" is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back.

The other four---family, friends, health, and integrity---are made of glass. And if you drop them, they will crack, chip, or shatter.

Once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will be ready to life your life in such a way that while you may not be ready to say goodbye, you will have lived life to the fullest, appreciated those around you and you will have left a legacy to those that you will someday leave behind.

The good news is that if you are "ready to go",  it is so much easier to also be "ready to leave", because you know that you will one day be reunited with those that are left behind.

Are you ready to go?