Live Like We’re Dying or Be Still and Know?

On the drive home from Richmond this morning, we heard that catchy and wise song from Kris Allen, Live Like We’re Dying. It’s all about making every second count, and this is one of my core beliefs. Maybe it’s from losing my dad and my brother before I turned thirty-one. Maybe I was born this way. I don’t know, but I have sort of an insatiable, probably unhealthy, propensity to pack it in.

Can I tell you about my last twenty-four hours? Yesterday I picked the boys up from school, dropped our carpool buddy off and hopped on the beltway to beeline it to Richmond. My husband was there for work, staying in an historic hotel. We had a sports-free night and decided to hang out with Dad and make our NCAA picks in person (Sam ended up picking Bucknell to win it all. I think he just likes saying Bucknell). I had some Bible study to finish up so I had little Will reading it to me, and writing out my answers en route. When he complained that this was a lot to do, I said, “No worries. I’ll buy you lots of snacks when we stop.” But then I had a pang of panic. My WALLET! Where was it? Oh dear. 37 miles to empty. 70 miles to Richmond. I had a vision of my wallet on the desk at home. Little Will started searching for money around the van. We came up with a checkbook, my license (By God’s grace, it was in my purse instead of wallet where it belongs), and $9.67. When we stopped I got $8.50 worth of gas (which felt about like high school), and a Caramello for Will who had declared himself starving! I tried to convince the gas station lady to accept a check or let me pay by credit card which I know by heart (kind of weird, but I do, including the extra security numbers and expiration date). Since we were out of Northern Virginia, the gas attendant was just as sweet as she could be, but despite the “darlin” and “honey” coming my way, “rules are rules.”

We made it to Richmond unscathed by my idiocy once again. Although some of the boys’ comments left a mark. Will warned, “You have got to start keeping track of your wallet!” And from Nate, a highly irresponsible person himself, “maybe I can keep track of your wallet for you.”

But the wallet left behind was only the first…shall we say, hiccup. The second hiccup was more substantial. The concierge at the hotel recommended a restaurant a few blocks away that served squash casserole, shrimp and grits, mac and cheese, along with steaks and catfish. It had a most-fitting name: Comfort. The five of us scooted into the booth at Comfort and commenced drooling over our options. Well, Nate didn’t start drooling exactly. What he ultimately did, a half hour later, was more voluminous and required a trip to the bathroom.

“Maybe he’s carsick,” I reasoned, optimistically.

My husband clarified: “He ain’t carsick! He threw up five times.”

“Mmhh,” I said, “well, he hasn’t really eaten anything.”

I was corrected again: “He ate something!

Little Will, Nate and I scampered back to the hotel, while Sam and Daddy Will paid and hopefully downed some more of the yumminess.

As we entered the lobby, the concierge looked surprised to see us. “How did you like Comfort?” he asked.

“Oh very good,” I said, “just my son started not feeling well.”

In the hotel room, Nate felt better. We all hung out and had lots of big laughs. I had planned to get up early to make the drive back to DC. My full intention was for the boys to be on time for school, and for me to be on time for Bible study. Instead, I let the boys sleep in and we took our time getting ready to go. I wasn’t sure how Nate would wake up feeling.

I still drove straight to school and dropped Will and Sam off before eleven, then headed home.  Nate looked great and claimed to feel great. This is silly, I thought.

“Do you want to go to school?” I said.


I packed lunches. Nate showered and got ready.  I made a second trip to school and checked Nate in, just in time for lunch. I then dropped my minivan off at the Toyota dealership to be assessed for a trade-in. I had the shuttle lady drop me off at Bible study, the afternoon portion was just set to begin. I went in, prayed with a couple ladies, heard a testimony, and answered the first question of the study. Then my phone rang.

“Nate is the same color as his shirt,” the school secretary vividly described.

Oh dear. No car. Green kid. Call husband. Live Like We’re Dying?

Hardly, my struggle. My struggle is being still.

The song isn’t quite as catchy. It’s somber, really. But that’s what I need to do: “Be still and Know.”

These words of Steven Curtis Chapman, paraphrasing Psalm 46:10, don’t make me want to dance.  They don’t make me want to run or sing or jump around.  But they remind me that I need to be still, to sit quietly before the Lord.  There’s a balance, and I know my live-like-I’m-dying pace is not striking it.

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still, O restless soul of mine
Bow before the Prince of peace
Let the noise and clamor cease

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that He has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Be still

Be still, and know that He is God
Be still, and know that He is God
Be still, and know that He is God

Be still; Be speechless

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know He is our Father
Come rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of His unfailing heart of love
Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still, Be still

Beautiful words, hold me accountable for them, will you?