Living and dying in America

We are fortunate to live and die in America. Billions of people have died from starvation in third world countries. Millions have died in war-torn places and never knew a moment of real peace during their lives.

So many live and die in harsh nations where daily life is mere survival. We are blessed to be born and to live out our lives in America.

Often in life we ask ourselves, “Why in the heck do I care about anything going on in the world?” Stuff like Presidential elections, taxes, jobs, border security and wars in the Middle East.  The list of world junk is almost endless.

Last week, we buried my 53-year-old niece. We watched her grow up, marry, battle a life of diabetes and eventually die from kidney failure and cancer. I didn’t write a column last week because who really cares about writing when you’re standing in the funeral home and at a graveside?

We buried my wife’s father, who died suddenly, about a year ago. The sudden death of such a good man and friend was painful. I’ve stood at the grave a lot of my life. My sons and I buried my first wife who was their mother.

The pain and grief cut our hearts out. A few years before that, my wife and I buried a little stillborn baby that ripped us apart in grief. Through the years I’ve stood at the grave of both of my parents and officiated about 400 funerals for friends and fellow church members.

In the middle of pain and grief we don’t really care about anything else. Who can focus on the environment or fossil fuels and worry about Social Security when we are bleeding grief and sorrow? I can’t, and I doubt whether most people, if anyone, can.

We stand at the grave and we analyze our lives knowing that soon or maybe in the next five, 10 or at best 30 or so years, our lives will be over and our bodies will be six feet under the dirt. Our hope is that we will be in a much better place, removed from our bodies and cared for by a loving God. Thus, knowing that our lives are so short, what are we to do?

Keep living. Life is a gift. Don’t fret the small stuff. It’s all really small stuff.

Try to love people and accept people where they are and not where you think they should be. Forgive people and move forward. Don’t carry grudges. Make the most of every day. Don’t be timid about living life and don’t live your life based on what you think everybody else wants you to do.

You may not believe in an afterlife. What if there is an afterlife, meeting God, eternity and all that stuff? Do you really want to chance not trying to be ready for something that will be so much longer than this world?

Finally, we should try to leave this world a better place. This brings us back to Presidential elections, taking care of our planet, jobs, border security, terrorism, equality and life around us. Little people are following us.

Who we vote for and how we leave this world is so important. We only get a few years and there is some reason we are here. Make a contribution. Vote, keep our country safe, help us stay free and keep working to keep America – America. A place where people want to live and a country where we can die knowing that we were blessed to live briefly in such a great land.

Glenn Mollette is a syndicated columnist and author of eleven books. He is read in all 50 states.