“Am I going to need Novocaine?”
He chuckled to himself, “Yup, were going to numb the area before we drill.”
“I have to tell you something, well it is more of a confession, I am terrified of needles…I hate them.”
“That’s okay. You would be surprised how many people who sit in that chair and tell me that they can’t do needles when really, they do just fine.”
“Will it hurt? I have never gotten a needle in my mouth before. That is a point of pride for me.” I nervously chuckled.
“Yes it will,” Dr. Fisher quickly replied.
His quick response took me aback. I dont think I have ever heard a doctor be honest about the pain before. “Well…. uh…Thank you for being honest. I appreciate it.”
After he stuck me with the Novocaine a couple of times and the numbness spread to the right side of my mouth (which is still numb now and makes chewing jellybeans interesting) I started thinking about my life; how short my life is.
He began drilling and I could see smoke or airborne bone fragments (whatever the “vapor” was) rise from my mouth. It would see it out of the corner of my eye and then it would disappear a moment later. For some reason I was no longer thinking about the drilling and everything associated with it but rather, I began to ponder my significance. I began to dwell on the ‘vapor like’ state of my existence.
James 4 says “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Mist disappears pretty rapidly. If you have ever turned on the hose or watched a waterfall and saw some of the excess water turn to mist, you know that it vanishes quickly.
Our lives are like that. Our lives are infinitely small compared to the span of eternity. Even if you compare my 70 years here on earth to the span of human history, my life is but a dot on that timeline.
Pretty frightening stuff to think about while sitting in a dentists chair.
Before I knew it, I was all finished and heading out of the office. Numbness still having a profound effect upon my mouth I got in my car and headed home. On the way, I passed a graveyard. Because of my thinkings on vapor, I decided to stop and walk around.
I walked for a bit until I got to one particular set of graves. There was a man who went to WWII when he was around my age buried next to a boy who died recently at the age of 15. One was around 70 and the other 15. On the Veteran’s gravestone recorded the awards he received because of his heroism: purple heart and some others. The 15 year old’s gravestone recorded no such awards. Quite simply, it recorded the name.
Buried side by side marked by a slab of rock, a nicely carved slab of rock, but a rock nonetheless.
I began to wonder what were they like? How did they die? What did they live for? What legacy did they leave behind? All along I am being reminded that my life is like a vapor. When placed against the backdrop of history or eternity, my life is incredibly short.
With my ‘vapor length’ of time, how will I spend my life? Accumulating more wealth? Living the American Dream? Have a beautiful ‘trophy wife’ with the perfect kids? Do things the easy way? Do whatever I want? Live for myself? Seek solely my own pleasure? Become a strict philanthropist? Beat Halo 100 times over?
What legacy will I leave behind? What is the grand point for my existence? What am I living for?
Praise God for the Gospel that while I had nothing to live for, Christ gave me hope. That Christ gave me His righteousness and took my sin so that I could glorify Him. Praise Christ that while I try to make this life all about myself, He makes it all about Himself which when I live like my life is His, I truly find my life (confusing concept). Praise God that my supreme treasure is more and more becoming Him and less and less becoming myself. Praise God for the resurrection of the dead, that death is not the end but the entrance, that in Christ there is meaning.
What is it that you find yourself living for? What would your gravestone say? What legacy will you leave behind? Have you ever dwelled upon your own death? Before navigating away from this page so quickly, take some serious time to journal and answer those questions as you embark on 2011.