“Live. Love. Laugh.”
It’s a slogan that’s typically found on at least one wall in every home. And why not! I’m not going to deny that it’s a genuinely beautiful message; an ode to the goodness of life and of our existence with others. To the way that we should live together, sharing our joys, dreams, passions, sorrows and struggles. To the beauty of falling in love with another and growing closer to those dearest to us. To sharing in the joy of friendship, and being charitable to those most in need. To laughing together at those silly moments which bring a smile to our face and fill us with warmth and gratitude.
Life is good.
But, as people of faith, we can often experience another pull. A pull which says, “Yes! Live, love, and laugh – but be ready”. Never have I seen this message so beautifully portrayed as in this short film called ‘The Assessment’ which was created by the YouTuber Marcus Johns.
The sound, the cinematography, the script – they all absolutely blew my mind when I first watched it so I recommend plugging in some earphones for this one.
I think this short film has balanced perfectly the genuine joy that we find in life, with the anticipation that we hold for the greater joy that is to come. I found that some of the most striking words were the responses to the assessor’s questions. Take these two:
“Did you accomplish everything that you wanted to in life?” – “No, I didn’t.”
In life we dream and we aspire to accomplish things, we have goals that we want to achieve, and they’re always there – we never get to a point where we’ve achieved absolutely everything we want to. There’s always another dream, and another goal. And so to realise that we won’t achieve all those dreams can seem like a painful realisation, but it shouldn’t be.
After someone very dear to me passed away at a very young age I wrote a poem; one verse reads:
‘But herein is found my biggest mistake,
To assume that her symphony was cut short by fate,
For that beautiful melody needed not another note,
It was complete in that moment when the Almighty spoke.’
I had fallen into the trap of thinking that this person was taken too soon, that their life was in some way incomplete and that their song hadn’t been sung! But what I came to realise was that we are here just until God calls us home, and that when God does call us home, then our song is sung – our symphony is complete; it is beautiful and doesn’t need a single other note added.
There shouldn’t be pain in the thought of not achieving everything that we want to, because it’s God who is the author of time. He alone knows what we are going to do, He alone knows what link we are going to be. As Blessed John Henry Newman said, ‘I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons’. Whether we live for many years or just a few, God is in control.
“Do you want to go back?” – “No”
As we said at the beginning, life is good. ‘Gloria Dei homo vivens’ – The glory of God is man fully alive! We are called to live our life to the full!
In the video we see at the end, very briefly, that the boy was about to propose to the girl. He was on the cusp of a major moment in his life, he was in love and was about to ask her to share in this life with him. He had everything going for him! And yet when asked if he wants to go back he says “no”.
I found this to be an incredible testament to what we as Christians anticipate is to come. He knows in faith that what is to come next is far more beautiful than anything he had up to then experienced.
Think of these two Scripture verses:
‘Since, then, you will be raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God’ (Col 3: 1).
‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ (Rev 21: 4).
This is what we hold before our hearts and mind as we make our pilgrim journey here on earth. This is what fills us with confidence when we say yes to heaven. We know that, although there are many beautiful things in this life, there is so much more to come in the next.
One other striking line was this one, and I’ll leave it here for you to ponder, and with a few questions for reflection:
“There’s no human experience I missed out on more than love… and I just wish I would’ve loved more.”
1 – Do I live my life to the full, and with confidence in the goodness of God?
2 – Do I love with my whole heart? And are there ways that I could show love more?
3 – Do I worry about death, or do I find peace in what’s to come next?
All these questions can be prayed about and put into action in your life!