There’s a popular rock song that always gets me to thinking about how I’ve lived my life and what I can do in the time I have left to make it better, not only for myself but also for those around me. The song, “If Today Was Your Last Day,” by Nickelback presents a scenario where a best friend offers his or her advice with sentiments we’ve all heard and sometimes might view as cliché (“each day’s a gift and not a given right,” “take the path less traveled by”).
Yet the lyrics that always seem to reach me and cause me to give pause and consider are ones that offer a great deal of sage advice if they are to be taken with an open heart and mind. So let’s examine some of the ones that stand out.
“If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late, Could you say goodbye to yesterday?”
If I were to leave this world tonight while I slept, what could I have done, what should I have done that went left undone. We can’t always control the things we should do now, sometimes it has to be put off for another day for myriad reasons, but when you go to sleep can you close your eyes in good conscience and bid yesterday farewell knowing you might not open your eyes again.
“Would you live each moment like your last”
You might take this as “would you live each moment like it was your last moment” and that is certainly a thought that provokes thoughts, but the lyric asks if you would live each moment like you just lived your last moment? The heart of the lyric is asking if you will be satisfied to continue living your life the way you have been. Has your life been a life to be proud of? The lyrics meaning begs the listener to examine their own life and decide if changes can be made to make it better.
“Leave old pictures in the past, Donate every dime you have”
The donate every dime part of that lyric always gets to me. I’m a poor man, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have something to offer. Even the little money I do have should I or do I share it with those who are less fortunate? It is easy to be cynical and callous in this day and age and I AM cynical and often times I’m callous. I shouldn’t be, God doesn’t want his people to be that way. Finding my way out of that mentality is a daily struggle, one I and possibly you reading this, deal with on a daily basis.
“Would you call old friends you never see?”
There’s a saying I like to say when I find I’m inundated with “things” that bog down my day - “Life Happens.” But it is just because ‘Life Happens’ that we should endeavor to stay in touch with old friends, family, people from our past who were important to us in some way. Facebook has definitely made it easier to connect with those we’ve lost touch with, but there is something special in actually picking up the phone and calling them and something even more special and personal about picking up a pen and paper and taking the time to actually write a letter or even just a simple note or postcard and sending it their way. We should all make it a point to reconnect with important persons from our past.
“Would you forgive your enemies?”
This is possibly the most important part of this song. Forgiveness requires love and to love someone who has wronged you is supremely difficult and yet Christ gave us the perfect example of forgiving those who would do us harm, not only he but the apostles and first century Christians as well. They faced ridicule, hatred, persecution and death, yet they lived their beliefs and the new commandment Christ gave in John 13:34 - “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Certainly one of the most difficult tasks Christians have and yet one which we must also feel in our hearts.
“You know it’s never too late to shoot for the stars, regardless of who you are. So do whatever it takes, Cause you can’t rewind a moment in this life. Let nothing stand in your way, Cause the hands of time are never on your side.”
These lines in the waning vestiges of the song sum up the urgency to recognize the importance of the message. It doesn’t matter who you are we are all charged as human beings to live each day to the fullest, doing all we can not just for ourselves but for the less fortunate and those who are our enemies. You only get one go at this life so make it count and don’t let ANYTHING stand in your way.
So today, take a look at your life. Ask yourself, “What can I do to be a better person?” “What can I do to help someone less fortunate than myself?” “What can I do to reach out and connect with that person in my past who was such a positive influence and inspiration to me?” “What can I do to show that person who may despise and hate me that I love them as a human being and want an end to the enmity between us?” Once you’ve answered those questions take action and make your life one to be proud of.