Waiting For A Death Sentence

by  Page Cole  |  Light Your World
Waiting for a Death Sentence

We’re all just hanging around to hear what our death sentence is. Morbid, right? Before you quickly move away to something more upbeat or happy, hang in there for a minute.

We all get on this ride as a bouncing baby, and move into the carefree years of childhood, the angst-filled era of being a teenager and finally we’re thrust against our will into the world of adulthood. But it’s not as bad as it seemed, and there are days we even seem to enjoy it.

Marriage. A career. Buying that first house. Then it’s upgrading to a mini-van, soccer games and school programs. Life is hectic; it’s frenetic. But always moving forward it is. As the kids get older, so do we. We’re mortified at the first gray hairs, until those gray hairs start turning loose. Visits to our doctor become more commonplace than our days at the gym… and maybe that’s why.

The train we’re on just keeps moving, some days it seems slowly, but more often than not it seems to be picking up speed. We blaze past bar mitzvahs and births, graduations and weddings. We hardly slow down to enjoy the stops, let alone the scenery. Bones are a little more creaky this year than last, and the spring in our step seems, well, a little sprung.

Then we sense something is wrong – just a little off. A trip to the doctor and few tests later we hear the news we thought would never come. “It’s Cancer.” “You have heart disease.” “It’s the beginning stages of Parkinson’s.”  It slowly, painfully sinks into our soul and our psyche. This is how it’s probably going to end.

Of course, your diagnosis may not be terminal, but your diagnosis reminds you of this important fact – you are terminal. This ride has an end point on this side of forever, and although you may not be at the last station, you may be able to see it from where you are.

I know, like I said, maybe a downer. But wait. We cannot forget, we must not forget. Life, and the living of it are ours to seize. Every moment, every breath. To be certain there are things that are way beyond our control. Our mortality is one of those. But our humanity is under our influence, and how we spend the moments doled out to us are ours to manage, to spend and to embrace.

Daily choices about our health, our happiness and our passions – we can abdicate our responsibility to champion through each of those with courage and intent by letting life happen to us. Many people do. I would rather choose to embrace my family, my friends and my future in the moments I will live. I refuse to watch the days check off on my calendar with anything less than an exclamation point on each one.

I will chart a course for my marriage, my kids & my career that captures those moments rather than endures them. I will open my heart each day that I open my eyes, and in doing so I will allow my faith in my place in the cosmos to fire my soul and my steps. This is my choice. This is my destiny. This is my legacy.

This is the kind of employer I will be. It is the type of leader I must be. It is the decision I make today and each day. When that day comes and I hear my death sentence, it will be hard. But the joy of knowing that I embraced my life sentence in the days before will matter more. My life will have mattered.

My life will have made a difference. Will yours?

Fire My Soul

How can you embrace life today?
Photo Credit: Fotolia Gustavo Frazao

About The Author

Articles By page-cole
I’m a dealer in hope… In my career, for seniors who want to stay safely in their own homes… in my family, that our best days are still yet to come… and in my sphere of influence, that we all have the ability to change our world, first and foremost by changing ourselves for the better!  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Jane Perdue  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

What a great message, Page! At the beginning AND end of each day, what we all have is choice, and you’ve affirmed that reality beautifully.

Eight years ago I left corporate America to start my second act of life. 18 months ago I nearly died from a heart condition. Now I begin every day grateful for having the opportunity to do my second act better. So much can be done with that half-full glass!

Page Cole  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Thank you Jane! Wow, I didn’t know that about your history! You probably more than most about the precious nature of the moment!

I stole it from someone, but I remind people when they see the glass as half full…


Have a great day!

Gary Gruber  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Every new day is a gift, to be unwrapped, celebrated and shared. Time is a construct, an invention for our convenience and it’s not so much how we “spend” it as how we “invest” it and I think that’s more than semantics. The ROI of time is simply amazing and continues to be filled with glad surprises, moments of grace and monuments to love. As I look toward beginning my 80th year, I am ever grateful for time, it’s blessings and bounties and what I can give back to honor all those who gave to me.

Page Cole  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

I agree that time is meant to be invested, and shouldn’t be wasted! Sometimes I think it’s refreshing to SPEND the time… just wantonly use it up in abandon and passion! We need both, and we need the wisdom you shared to understand the ROI on using whatever moments we have left wisely! Thanks for your comment! Enjoy your week!

Ray N. Adcock  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Great article. A nice reminder that this life is just a vapor. Gone in a flash. We must not forget to live each day to it’s fullest. I’m reminded that this world is not my home. I hope I make the most of my life….starting right now.

Page Cole  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

It amazes me… not that other people don’t see how precious each moment is… but how many times I forget, and have to be reminded myself! Thanks for the encouragement Ray!

De  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

I agree wholeheartedly with all you have penned. We choose each day’s mood. Our attitude toward our days good or bad are ours to enjoy or despise. I choose JOY !

Page Cole  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

The world would be a better place if more people WOULD choose JOY!
(or at least not choose being a goober!)

Mike Henry Sr.  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Page, thanks for a great post and reminder. We do make the choices and the choices we make determine our legacy and also they demonstrate our character. Thanks for choosing to take part and to make a difference. Mike…

Page Cole  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Thank you sir! And thank you for investing in me and so many others, because you definitely have made a difference in our lives!

Bill  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Thank you for the great reminder to focus on the present and be a difference maker !

Page Cole  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Thank you for the encouragement! Have a blessed new year!

Bruce Neal  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

You nailed it. I, too, try to live each day to the fullest and not sweat the stuff that doesn’t really matter in the big picture. One of those things I cherish is the long, dear friendship with you and your precious family. To watch our little girls grow up into the women they’ve become is a blessing beyond measure. To have four grown, successful children, and none of them in jail!!! To be a PaPa, well, that is just undescribable. Are there times that you don’t enjoy? Of course there are, that’s just life. I choose to keep those in there place and press on with my wonderful life.
Thanks for the reminder. Like your previous commenter, I choose joy!!!

Page Cole  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

You have chosen GOLD! It’s the moments we spend with our families, making a difference in the lives of our friends and the world around us that make the world we live in a better place! Thanks for being a change agent for good!

Chris Wall  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Great word Page. I think it was Erwin McManus in “The Barbarian Way” where I first heard the idea: Are you going to count the days of your life, or make the days of your life count? When I read this article, I thought about the challenge of making sure that I take the time to consider how I am living my life and utilizing the days that God has given me.

It is interesting that you wrote on this. Just this week, our staff had a conversation about the realization that God is always a witness to our lives. In light of the sudden tragedy that I have experienced in my life, I try to be aware of the fact that there will come a day when I will see God face to face. When that day comes, I want no regrets from this life nor do I want to have wasted the opportunity God has given to me.

I am grateful for you and am grateful for the thought provoking blog today.


Page Cole  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

I remember hearing Erwin McManus say that one time at a conference… he “steals” from the best! Originally it was Abraham Lincoln that said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Either way it’s a great truth, and it says what in just a few short words what I took an entire blog to say!

Thanks for leading and living this way in front of so many!

Rhys Cole  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

I am so proud to call you my brother ! Love Rhys

Page Cole  |  06 Jan 2016  |  Reply

The feeling is mutual little brother! I love to watch you lead… your family, your workplace, in the FFA program as you mentor kids, and in your church family! Keep up the good work! Love you!

Bill Shiflett  |  07 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Thanks for the challenge, Page. Your reminder of daily choices is well received.
Before others will follow, they must see attributes of leadership in our lives throughout and not just “on the job.”

Page Cole  |  07 Jan 2016  |  Reply

The influence you have over others is tremendous. Your own upbeat and positive attitude has challenged others to up their game, to influence their world like you have yours! Lead well my friend!

Joan Mayes  |  07 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Beautifully written. John and I are in those years where health issues are always a topic but it has been our response to live each day without regret and to Praise God for each day. Our blessings far outweigh our problems. Through all of John’s health issues he has never complained or asked why me. Life is so very brief and as you so eloquently point out, we can waste our life by complaining and regretting and longing for yesterday or longing for what we do not have. Or we can enjoy each day knowing it may be our last and when it is our last we can go knowing we have done our best and there are no regrets.

Thank you Page for this very thoughtful article.

Page Cole  |  07 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Thank you Joan! You and John have a great testimony regarding faith in the face of adversity, and hope in the middle of discouraging times. The moments truly are precious. Bless you guys!

Spencer  |  07 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Page, well done sir! Thank you for sharing…

Page Cole  |  08 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Thanks Spencer! Have a super weekend! Carpe Weekendus!

Chelsea Levo  |  07 Jan 2016  |  Reply

I love this message. Carpe diem! I have done well forgiving and accepting others, but after losing my mom last year, I let go of things I didn’t even realize I was holding on to. Since then, I feel lighter. Life has become more clear. As long as I acknowledge HIM in everything and love the way HE loves, I can lay my head down to sleep — whether it is for a night’s rest or eternally — knowing I have lived my life sentence to the fullest. Thank you for your wisdom, Page. God bless and hug you!

Page Cole  |  07 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Chelsea, You have one of the kindest spirits I know. All of us have Junk in our past, and that includes Junky People!!! I’m glad you’ve found some release and peace in letting go of that stuff! Your faith in God AND in others are two of the things I admire most about you! Thanks for the encouragement buddy!

John Smith  |  12 Jan 2016  |  Reply

Hi, Page – glad I hung in past those first few lines:)

This is something I have engaged with in company with others and now find myself dealing with my own mortality more often. Your post is full of impacting statements, but the following seemed to sum up an important point: “To be certain there are things that are way beyond our control. Our mortality is one of those. But our humanity is under our influence, and how we spend the moments doled out to us are ours to manage, to spend and to embrace.”

I remember reading Viktor Frankl for the first time long ago, which led me to deeply question, for the first time, the powerful role of choice in how we live our lives. Aging is “not for sissies”, as they say, and much of what happens as we grow older and closer to our end that is not directly controlled by us.

However, what goes on in our mind and our heart is always very much within our control and that can make a huge difference in the impact of an event.

I sometimes think about how I would like to have my grandchildren react to my eminent departure from the planet … not to be morbid, but to practice how to help them navigate what is, after all, just part of the life cycle.

Cue “The Circle of Life” and get those lions up on the cliff:) …

Thanks for a thoughtful and useful post.


Page Cole  |  12 Jan 2016  |  Reply

My educated and astute observation (all humility aside) is this…

Your grandchildren will be saddened by your departure, and blessed having lived under your influence.

Blessings to you my friend!

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