I have a confession. I have always feared graveyards, grave sites, cemeteries and the like. When growing up, we lived in a town where people being buried in their homes was not novel or strange. I must confess it spooked me quite a bit. It was rumoured that the house we lived in that town had a person buried underneath it. I never went to the backyard at night all the years we lived in that house. My first few months living there gave me nightmares.

When I was in university, I went with a friend to visit her grandparents and we spent the night. As we walked along the street, it seemed as though every house had a tombstone beside it. I barely slept a wink, imagining that all the ghosts were having a meeting in the middle of the street!

In a strange controversial flip, I have always been positively open to the concept of death and how I would like to be buried. I was barely in my early teens when I began to think about the day I would die and what legacy I would leave behind.

For years I asked myself, what if today was your last day? My mistake was that I asked my mother and some people close to me and they marked me as a nutcase.

I finally –almost- got over my fear tombstones and cemeteries when I was part of a fellowship that did evangelical outreaches in local villages. I was privileged to be part of the team that would go ahead to intercede before and during the outreach. During one of the outreaches, the place we were given to stay was right beside a graveyard, with no gates or walls surrounding it. I literally, would walk past a grave or two on the way to the bathroom.

Since it was a spiritually soaked atmosphere and we were getting little or no sleep, I overcame my fear, or so I thought.

Sadly, my positive approach to living everyday as though it was my last faded into a mere memory as marriage and children came. I became ‘drunk’ with the future, dreams and hopes to come true and things I wish to do in 50 years or more.

On a hot, sunny and dusty afternoon some weeks ago, we drove past a graveyard. There were two sides or obvious phases to it; one side with arranged tombstones, in different sizes spread across a landscape and on the other side, unmarked with what seemed to be freshly dug graves.

It was at that point I realized that I had truly overcome my fear of graveyards (I hope!). But I also realized that the blessings I have received have made me complacent, thinking the presence of time exists in my favour.

I believe everyone gets pulled so deep into the cycle and routine of life that we sometimes forget to live. Some of us may have lost loved ones or may fear death but no matter how hard you pray, or try to prolong your life, death will come calling.

Live your life in reverse. Dare to face the unpopular but inescapable question, what will happen after you die?

If you were faced with death today, or in a few months, or weeks, what would you do differently? Would your priorities change?

Yes, I wish to live a long and fulfilled life, but the truth is life is short. We must learn to live every moment as though it could be our last. Yes I know, you have a prophecy of long life and a covenant with longevity, but if you are going to spend so many years on earth, live for something worthwhile; do not occupy ‘space’ and waste our precious oxygen.

Have a bucket list of people you want to help; lives you want to impact and the legacy you want to leave behind. You can consciously look for how to make people’s lives around you a little better, never turn down an opportunity to serve, encourage or help someone every day. It is good to think of yourself, but it is more rewarding to think of other people. Doing good is a gift, an honour that will always come back to you, it is the greatest way to be remembered.

Thinking of ways to serve in God’s house, and beyond that in his kingdom is the best way to live. Giving your time and resources to helping the cause of Jesus has eternal rewards in heaven and especially on earth.

No matter how many people have hurt you in the past, open your heart to loving and helping no matter what. It is safer to not expect anything in return, including their gratitude so you do not get disappointed or hurt. Imagine the book of life having not just your name, but every good deed you have ever done with a blessing and a reward beside it.

Remember that no year, day, or moment comes twice, so every moment is the last of its kind when it comes along.

Never postpone a moment to be truly happy, especially if you know it will come regret free.

Live for God. Live for good. Live to be remembered.

Cheers!