The question has been asked: “If you were stranded on a deserted island with no hope of rescue, and all you had was a piece of paper, a pen, and a bottle, what would you tell the world?”
Many of us have asked ourselves this question at one time or another. I know that I have. I’ve often pictured myself sitting with my back up against a lone palm tree, wearing only a pair of tattered pants. I’m pondering my fate and wondering what comes next.
My situation, alone on the island, could be described as a metaphor for my life up to this point. I could make an attempt to explain my circumstances – how I often feel alone, and what I would have done differently to avoid this situation. The more I ponder it, the more I believe I would go for the short version of how I arrived at this point. I don’t think I would bother trying to give the world a synopsis of my life and my mistakes. The only ones who would care are those who enjoy examining the minutia of everyday life, trying to figure out why things are the way they are. At any rate, back to my island — I’m sure I would be quite lonely, understanding that this is how my life would close.
I suppose that lonely and destitute is exactly how many people with terminal illnesses feel. They are intensely aware of the fact that their life will soon end, while the rest of the world will continue on in its steady pace. They may die alone, in pain, on a bright and warm Saturday afternoon, while parents and children throw a frisbee in the park not far outside their hospital room window; young lovers lie on a blanket under a cool oak tree, gazing into each other’s eyes; and a single woman jogs steadily along the pathway winding through the park. None of these people are aware of the misery overlooking them from high in the hospital complex, amid beeps and buzzes, nurses and doctors, needles and blood pressure cuffs.
Loneliness only begins to describe the state of the one confined to the hospital bed. While those in the park may be looking forward to the new fall season of their favorite TV show, if the dying patient allows his mind to wander toward such thoughts, only more sadness and loneliness will likely result. Realizing that he will be long gone before the first crisp fall evening, brings tears running down his cheeks. He knows his body will be in the ground and the world will go on, none the wiser that he has left this life forever.
Is that how I would feel if I were on a deserted island? Possibly. I don’t really like the idea of the world continuing forward on its certain course, unaware of my passing. Just like the dying person in the hospital room, the thought would probably send waves of sadness crashing over me.
The depth of my sadness and despair, however, would depend on how I viewed my life up to the point where I found myself on this island. If I were happy with my life, satisfied that I had done my best in raising my children and contributing to society, then I would feel much more at ease than if I had a heart full of regrets about how my kids never visit, about projects left undone, and about other neglected relationships left in shambles.
The point is that I don’t know exactly what I would say about my life — mainly because I haven’t finished living it yet. Maybe it would be better to take the high road and write on my little piece of paper some bit of advice to whomever might find it. I could attempt to explain life – my version anyway, as big a task as that would be. I would tell the world to be humble, considering others instead of only yourself, and above all, to seek God daily. He is the answer, whether you realize it or not. As somebody said, “Just because you don’t believe it, don’t mean it ain’t true.”
Seek God by believing in His Son, because that is the only way to find Him. Any other pathway to God will only lead you to a false god, a wizard behind the curtain pulling levers and pushing buttons, and not the Real Thing that you were searching for.
Yes, the high road sounds like the path to take — provided my piece of paper is big enough.