Dangerous Jobs and Thanksgiving

As a general rule, being an author is not considered a particularly risky profession or hobby. The number of risk factors involved seems low. A writer seldom has to deal with toxic chemicals, whirling blades, crushing hydraulics, high voltage electricity, or tall ladders. In fact, if viewed specifically from a safety point of view, it seems like a very innocuous profession.

However, there is a startling statistic that every single author that was born by 1910 has died. William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkien, and CS Lewis to name a few, are gone. Throughout history, every single author has eventually passed on. That is a 100% mortality rate with no expectation of improvement. Maybe it is not such a safe field after all.

Obviously, I am juxtaposing a lighthearted tone on a serious subject. That subject, of course, is mortality. My mortality to be more specific.

You see, I am aware that my days are numbered and that I have no control over how or when my ultimate demise will be delivered. I am not fatalistic at all. Nor am I cavalier with safety. I wear my seatbelt, drive conscientiously, eat lots of green leafy vegetables, and in general have a healthy lifestyle free from vice and addictions. But, my days are still numbered and will eventually run out.

While that may seem like a somber subject the week before Thanksgiving, it really is not so bad. In fact it is a great place for a thankful attitude to be nurtured.

First, for me, I consider every day to be a gift from God's hand. It's hard to not be thankful with that as a foundation. I have had several events in my life where I knew I was going to die, and did not. This would be a very different post otherwise.

Second, recognizing my own mortality causes me to live with a purpose. There are many aspects of my life that could be postponed, but I do not know the future any better than anyone else. It is my ambition in life to encourage, nurture, and inspire others to reach their full Divinely-appointed potential. At best, I imperfectly attempt to fulfill that ambition a number of ways, but always today. To quote John Cooper, "Today, 'cause tomorrow may be one day too late."

Third, I realize that I am no more important than anyone else. We all share the same condition, and all must be prepared for our final call. We are pilgrims in this life-journey preparing for our eternal home. That may sound morbid, or a bit pie-in-the-sky-ish to some, but it sets me free. I am free to be satisfied with whatever I have, because it is all quite temporary. That is a really good feeling, by the way. My observation is that self-indulgent living is relentlessly exhausting.

So, embracing my mortality allows me to be thankful for today, live with purpose, and love my neighbor. I think that is a win all the way around.