Five years ago I was taught when people reach nursing home status they typically ask three basic questions: Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter? These three questions have bounced in my head on and off since I first heard them, and I can confidently say yes to all three because I’ve been blessed with meeting a lot of great people through school, church, sports, and work. My biggest problem is not being able to connect with everyone as much as I’d like, which is a great problem to have. What’s helped this situation is I’ve always been the person to arrange to hang out. If I want to meet someone, I generally have to be the one to ask. This used to frustrate me and make me second guess whether people liked me or not, but I’ve learned to accept my position and enjoy having a sense of control in my life and relationships. Ultimately, I try to follow the rule: Do your part, and God will do His, and this has done very well for me.
That being said, there is someone in my life who has a couple years left to live. It’s a terrible situation because he’s still young but his body has been slowly deteriorating since he was a child and will continue crippling him until he dies, which will likely happen before he turns thirty. The worst part of this whole thing, however, is he’s made it even worse by how he’s handled it. I don’t think he could have dealt with it any worse if he tried. Besides refusing to ever eat healthy or exercise, I don’t see how he can say yes to any of these questions and it breaks my heart. I don’t know whether to be sad or angry. For the thirteen years or so that I’ve known him, he’s pretty much hid in his room playing video games. He doesn’t come out to say hi to people when they visit or even for big family gatherings like at Christmas. Sometimes he doesn’t even say hi if you go into his room to say hi to him. He just ignores you unless he wants something. To make matters worse, several months ago I wrote a post that graded people on the following scale:
- The Best Person
- A Really Good Person
- A Good Person
- A Blah Person
- A Bad Person
- A Really Bad
- The Worst Person
As you can assume, good people make the world a better place as they love others and themselves, which can be helped by a relationship with God (the five best people I’ve ever met were Christian) because faith can inspire and add accountability. Meanwhile, people on the bottom half of this scale are rude, self serving, thoughtless, neglectful, and bitter. The unfortunate truth is the world is full of people who could be good, but they are actually Blah to The Worst Person because their hearts have been tainted. If I was honest, I’d put this person I’m writing about in The Worst Person category because he’s allowed resentment to continually grow to where it’s hard to see anything but selfishness and bitterness in his heart. Please know, this isn’t about “judging” him (or anyone else), but it’s a category to put someone in based on observation. You could argue that he’s just a Bad Person, but that jump isn’t very helpful – he’s still a bad person. Add to this, he’s an adamant atheist, and I’m left wondering where is the hope? This life has been terrible and the next isn’t looking any better.
Here’s where I’m stuck. If someone is not a good person and they’re living a life they can’t say yes to any of the questions “Did I live, love, or matter?” and they’re a bad person, do we try to change that? From my perspective, with this person I have two main choices: sit back and let life take its course in order to avoid conflict or talk to the family about it and possibly stir up a hornet’s nest. I hate conflict, but I also have a responsibility as a Christian to care, especially when it comes to someone’s soul. Personally, I’d rather do nothing, but my conscious is telling me not to be so selfish. As a Christian I can thankfully pray for wisdom and an opportunity, but I still need to use the discernment God has taught me.
This week may you consider if you’re living in a way that scares those who care about you and whether you need to address something to change that.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people