A Protestant guy, a Catholic guy, and an Orthodox guy all sit down to dinner. No, it’s not the beginning of a religious joke, it actually happened to me on Sunday. My wife and I have some wonderful friends who are Orthodox Christians and we were invited over by this gracious family to celebrate Pascha (or the “real Easter” as they call it) this past Sunday. They even had us over to celebrate our own “schismatic Easter” a couple of weeks ago, which, now that I think about it, was a kind of backhanded display of generosity.
While I was there on Sunday, I met an interesting man named Marshall (the Catholic at the beginning of the corny joke) who is dying of cancer. Shortly after I was introduced to him, he told me of his condition and made some surprising, inspiring, and convicting statements. He said, essentially, “If I knew how much fun life could be when you really have your priorities in line, not just saying it – God first, family second, and everything else tied for third – I would have started this dying thing a long time ago! I’m having a blast!”
Allow me to share a few thought-provoking questions that came to mind when I heard his words – Do I really live out the priorities I say I have? What evidence does my enjoyment of life (or lack thereof) show that may answer that? Why does it take such tragedy to lead us into doing what we should have done all along?
Pliny the Younger once wrote, “Utinam tales esse sani perseveremus quales nos futuros profitemur infirmi” (Essentially – If only we would become when well, the men we promise to become when we are sick).