“Why are you getting up so early?” I asked incredulously, squinting at the clock on my nightstand.
Full of vigor, Dave replied, “Time’s a-wastin’,” and bounced out of bed.
“Are you kidding? It’s only four o’clock.”
“I’m starting a new life today.”
“What’s wrong with the old one?”
“It’s too settled, too ho-hum. I need action and excitement, starting now.”
If our lives were ho-hum, it was by design. We were both sixty-five, a few months into retirement. Ho-hum to me was .... wonderful. I had waited my whole life for ho-hum. But if Dave felt he needed to add excitement to his life, it was alright by me. I wasn't about to argue, especially at four in the morning. I rolled over and went back to sleep.
When I got up at seven-thirty, I smelled coffee brewing and bacon frying. Hmmm, maybe this new and improved Dave was good.
“Good morning, hon!” Dave chirped from the kitchen.
“Good morning, Zippy.” I replied. “How’s your new life going?”
“Terrific! I've already watered the garden, read the paper and walked Ruff. Life is what you make it. I've been sitting around too long waiting for life to happen. Now I’m going to grab hold of it and do something worthwhile.”
“Wasn't raising four children to responsible adulthood worthwhile? Isn't having eight grandchildren worthwhile? Wasn't a forty year distinguished career worthwhile?”
“Yes, but now I need to do something different, something that leaves my mark on earth.”
“I’d be happy to get you a nice gravestone to leave your mark on the earth,” I joked.
“I’m serious. I need to do something significant.”
“How about going to church this Sunday?
“Yeah, that’s great, but I want to do something where I can see my name in writing.”
“How about seeing your name God’s book of life? Would that be significant?”
I had been witnessing to Dave most of our married life. I found salvation in my twenties when a friend told me about giving myself to Jesus and accepting Him as personal Savior. Now in our sixties, Dave still hadn't made that commitment. I worried about his eternal soul. Our children had accepted Jesus at an early age, but Dave was still holding out. It was no wonder he felt like his life wasn't meaningful. I knew he needed to put God in his life, but he needed to know. I had been praying for him for forty years and hoped that today would be the day. I whispered a quick prayer.
“What is God’s book of life? Can I order it on Amazon?” he asked sarcastically.
“No, it’s free, you don’t even have to wait for it to come in the mail. Think about it. If you want to feel like you've contributed to this planet, let Jesus into your heart and He will show you how.”
We said no more as we sat down to the breakfast Dave had prepared. A single, elegant rose plucked from our garden that morning, graced our table.
He spent the rest of the morning hopping from one project to another, never seeming to find rest for his soul. After lunch he took a nap. I wasn't surprised, considering he had gotten up at four. When he awoke he was quiet, contemplative. We shared a simple dinner. When finished, he pushed back his plate and, looking me in the eye, said,
“I've been thinking about the conversation we had this morning where you spoke of accepting Jesus and letting Him make my life significant.”
“Yes?” I said, hopeful.
“Well, I guess it’s time. I've been fighting it all my life, wanting to do everything by my own power and might, but never really feeling satisfied. I want to let Jesus in.”
My eyes filled with tears as I helped Dave say the sinner’s prayer and accept Jesus as Savior. Then we wept together, tears of joy. We climbed the stairs, slid into bed, and kissed good night. Before drifting off, I whispered “thank you” to Jesus.
That night the angels came and took my sweet David home. Doctors said it was a massive heart attack. Five years have passed since then and I still grieve, but find comfort knowing Dave did something significant that day.
I did get him a grave marker. It said, “A day and a night can make all the difference. This man’s name is written in God’s book of life.”
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