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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

How can we face God with a failed report card?

May 29, 2024 02:56PM ● By Lynn Gendusa

Daddy always said, “The only problem with living long is watching others go away while I still stand strong.” He was right about that. 

Both of my parents lived long lives and were surrounded by an abundance of good friends. However, when the Lord finally called them home, few friends were left to bid them farewell. 

My friend Allison recently passed away. She was quite a force in the writing world—editing words, writing books and inspiring many with her wisdom. She was one of the first who thought a Southern chick like me could tell a story she could promote. Today, because she believed in me, I am blessed to see my essays in senior publications across the country. 

I met her only once in Denver, but you didn’t need to meet Allison in person to know her. Her humor, skill and enthusiasm permeated through her letters and into our hearts. She was truly a gift!

Her earthly life is over, but boy, did she do good while she was here! 

Isn’t that what our journey here is all about? Doing good while we’re here? No matter how long we live, the goal is to live well. Living to an old age should never be our primary purpose. Those who live richly by sincerely caring for others create a legacy that endures forever.

One of my best friends passed away at just 52. Sometimes, I sit quietly and start laughing when I remember something she said—she was such a hoot! She was cheerful, loving, kind and could sing like an angel. She impacted so many lives simply by living well.

Ryan White, the courageous child infected with AIDS in the early days of the outbreak, dedicated his remaining days to educating others about the disease. He died a month before his high school graduation. Although his years were short, his spirit lives on. How many have been blessed by Ryan White’s brief life? Countless.

The sum of our life is not measured in days but in deeds. I believe our time on earth is a test to see if we can fulfill our purpose. 

Those who promote ill will, violence and prejudice of any type, fail. We get a big fat F on our report card if we are self-righteous, cantankerous, complainers or filled with hate. We leave no exemplary or lasting footprints for our loved ones to follow. 

We all make mistakes in life—we sin and often fail miserably. But if we’ve accepted Jesus, and in the end, atone and truthfully try, we might just pass the final exam because we’ve overcome our errors with integrity, kindness and humility. That is what living well is all about.

Every morning, we wake up not knowing if it will be our last chance to accomplish what we desire. If we procrastinate, squander our days and spend precious time doing little for others, we’ll eventually come to the end of the road asking, “Why didn’t I?” 

Guess who is there waiting at the end. How do we face God with a failed report card? 

We are all blessed to have the opportunity to take the test. Each of us has a chance to live a life of care and help others. Unfortunately, prejudice, money, fame, power and evil often derail our purpose and lead us to ignore the teacher. The Holy Professor showed us how to live well, be happy and leave a positive mark on this world.

In just 33 years, a man born long ago taught us that love, faith, compassion, understanding, forgiveness and gratitude are the keys to a good life. He wasn’t wealthy, received no awards and challenged us not to judge others. He suffered on a cross, died and rose again so that we could follow in his footsteps.

Even now, he still walks among us.

So, if I pass the test and join friends and family members who earned ‘As’ for achieving their purpose well, my sorrow will be gone. I will rejoice in their accomplishments and pray that I, too, have left a footprint on the earth.

What will you do well today while you’re still standing strong?

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