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Weeks to Live: Making amends, keep working, and establishing priorities

Obviously, the world has been abuzz with news that Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs passed away last week. Hundreds of newspapers published obituaries and tens of thousands of bloggers dedicated posts to Jobs life and impact on their day-to-day life.

But one really captured my heart. Charles Duhigg of the New York Times wrote about the final months of Job’s life and the semi-private phenomenon of people wanting to say final goodbyes.

It lead me to reflect on my own life. If I knew I had 6 months to live… what the heck would I do?

Making Amends

One quote that stuck out to me in the New York Time piece was this, [when asked why he worked with a biographer in his final months] “I wanted my kids to know me, I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.

I believe my work is important. Maybe not important like the work of Apple Computer, but I find significance and self-worth in my profession. I pray that I never mismanage my life quite like that though. I’d hate to do great things outwardly and have to hire someone to write my life story so my kids can know what I did. I can’t read into Jobs life, but that would tell me that I’d need to spend much of my final months making amends for the things I’d neglected.

Better to do that now. Like today.

Keep working

Almost as a sidenote in the article the author refers to Jobs going to work in his final months. “On the days that he was well enough to go to Apple’s offices, all he wanted afterward was to return home and have dinner with his family.” Look, it’s not like Steve needed the money. He’s worth billions. I have to admit that I’d like to keep pushing forward, maybe with newfound earnest, in my final months as well. I don’t know what I’d do sitting at home. A life without purpose and output is hardly a life worth living in my opinion.

Establishing priorities

Everyone always wanted a piece of Steve,” said one acquaintance who, in Mr. Jobs’s final weeks, was rebuffed when he sought an opportunity to say goodbye.” I’m not Steve Jobs. I’m sure the list that would line up to say their goodbyes could be taken care of before lunch. That said, it was cool to read that Mr. Jobs made some decisions to prioritize his life at the end. He set out a path of things to accomplish and then set out to that… shedding anything else.

Again, let’s start that today.

I’m not sure this has a lot to do with our daily ministry… because if you’ve done this long enough you know that about 5 weeks after you’re gone your students will have a hard time remembering your name. But maybe this is a gut check for the people you love the most? 

ht to Rudy Carrasco