“Live Like We’re Dying”


In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

I must have missed the memo, because I reserved a tee time on early Sunday morning. But, apparently, the world is about to end on Saturday May 21, according to a group called Family Radio and a man called Harold Camping. Never mind that both Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them both) said that no one knows when the Last Day will come:

Prophet Muhammad: “The one being asked knows no more than the questioner.” (Bukhari)

Jesus Christ: “But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

Yet, that did not affect Camping, who took the money of many people to help pass the word by buying advertising space across the country. Yet, as I asked on my new blog on Beliefnet, “Common Word, Common Lord,” what should be our response? Thinking about this, it brings to my mind Kris Allen’s song “Live Like We’re Dying.”

The title of his song is one response to the “fact” that the Rapture will occur on Saturday: that we should “live like we are dying.” The first stanzas of his song outline well the current state of relations between many people:

Sometimes we fall down, can’t get back up
We’re hiding behind skin that’s too tough
How come we don’t say I love you enough
Till it’s to late, it’s not too late

Our hearts are hungry for a food that won’t come
And we could make a feast from these crumbs
And we’re all staring down the barrel of a gun
So if your life flashed before you,
What would you wish you would’ve done

He then outlines his solution to this state of affairs:

Yeah, we gotta start
Looking at the hands of the time we’ve been given
If this is all we got and we gotta start thinking
If every second counts on a clock that’s ticking
Gotta live like we’re dying

We only got 86,400 seconds in a day to
Turn it all around or to throw it all away
We gotta tell them that we love them
While we got the chance to say
Gotta live like we’re dying

He continues outlining why we must “live like we are dying”:

If your plane fell out of the skies
Who would you call with your last goodbye
Should be so careful who we let fall out our lives,
So when we long for absolution,
There’ll no one on the line, yeah

Then, he punctuates his view by stating a sad truth:

You never know a good thing till it’s gone
You never see a crash till it’s head on
Why do we think we’re right when we’re dead wrong
You never know a good thing till it’s gone

At first, I thought the the underlying basis of this song is negative: that there is nothing past this time on earth, so we should do everything we can to live in the now. But, when I reflected further, however, I feel that he is not saying this. Rather, he is saying that we should not put off until tomorrow what we can do today, especially when it comes to loving someone and telling them so. You get that inner motivation, that inner drive, to tell the person you love, “I love you very much,” but you say to yourself, “Later…I’m busy right now.”

Allen is saying, “No. Tell them now. Live like you’re dying.” Live like the Rapture is coming tomorrow, if you believe what Mr. Camping says.

This is along the very same line as the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when he said: ““If the Hour [Last Day] were to occur and you had a seed or small plant in your hand, and you are able to plant it before that, then plant it.” Even if you know the end is coming (like…tomorrow), you should still do as much good as you can, until the very last moment. The ultimate outcome doesn’t really matter. If the world does come to an end, that seedling you planted will never become a tree. But, at least you did your part: you planted it.

The same goes with our loved ones: yes, whether or not we say, “I love you,” the love we feel for them in our hearts is still there. Yet, it is still good to say it to them and, more importantly, act upon it every second of our lives. It is daily challenge, and so many times, we fail in this challenge. But, Kris Allen is reminding us in this song to continually re-kindle the commitment to truly love those whom we say we love and show it to them every single second of our lives, as if we are going to die tomorrow, even if it is quite probable that the end will not come tomorrow (sorry Mr. Camping…).

It is a wonderful gauntlet to throw down to us, and I am glad he did so in his song.

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