There’s been a lot of talk about the deadly Ebola virus that is currently ravaging West Africa. Social media is on fire, filled with millions of comments and concerns that the disease will spread to other parts of the world.
I, for the most part, am concerned…but undeterred. I refuse to make myself sick over Ebola or any other “impending doom.” I resolved, long ago, to be hopeful instead of fearful.
This resolution stems from a campfire conversation I had with some friends. It was 2010, and we were talking about how the world might come to an end in December 2012. We talked about how it might happen, what it might look like, and how we would respond. Some of the guys even expressed anger at the thought that their lives might be cut short.
Our apocalyptic, doom-and-gloom conversation became pretty heated as we debated what we would do in our final hours. It was then that one of my friends—who had not said a word since the conversation began—finally spoke up:
“I don’t think I would mind if the world came to an end,” he said, quietly poking the fire.
We stared at him in shock. “How can you say that?” someone asked.
My friend shrugged. “We’re all going to die sometime, right? We all know that. What we don’t know is how we’ll die or when we’ll die. So many people waste what little time they have thinking about how they’ll die and when they’ll die that they never really think about why they live. If you live a good life full of service then you don’t need to be fearful about how you’ll die and when you’ll die. You’ll be ready.”
A silence fell over the campfire and gradually, the conversation shifted towards inspirational thoughts we had had while hiking—things we’d like to change and people we’d like to visit. One of the guys resolved to forgive his father while another decided he was finally going to ask his long-time girlfriend to marry him.
Does the Ebola virus concern me? Yes, it does. You know what else concerns me? America’s current conflict with Russia, violence in the Middle-East, and overwhelming political corruption.
But you know what? There will always be something to worry about. We have a limited lease on life and it’s riddled with risk. So much of what happens to us is outside of our ability to control. We don’t know when we’ll die or how we die, but we can decide how to live and when to start.
In the midst of such terrible, fearful things, decide right now to live a good life full of service. Once you decide that, then you don’t need to be fearful about how you’ll die or when you’ll die. You’ll be ready. So roll up your sleeves and get to work! Don’t burry your head in the sand. Instead, labor to understand the diseases, conflicts, and issues of the world and seek to alleviate some of the pain, suffering, and misunderstanding. Do your best to be aware and serve others.
And what’s more, your knowledge, faith, goodness and service will undoubtedly make this darkened world a better place.
(For more information about Ebola, please read “Ten Things You Really Should Know About Ebola“)