Pack your Bags


Last week, our conversation could have been considered a bit morbid or fatalistic. Coming to grips with mortality has two distinctly different approaches. Some look for longevity. A recent study published in Nature Communications puts the maximum lifespan for humans at 120-150 years.

Sounds great, but they had no one between 120-150 to interview for their article! The second approach is to accumulate the relevant factors affecting one’s lifespan and, then, to make an informed projection of remaining years. Using that model, my 2022 Leukemia Year dialed my life horizon back, considerably. To quote from last week: My horizon of life expectancy had tightened-up dramatically: no longer two decades; perhaps just five years.

To live life strategically, you begin with a planning horizon and then develop the strategies necessary to achieve an intended outcome. Two critical things follow: 1) a set of tenets that frame one’s efforts; and, 2) self-direction – the ability to act without being told what to do; which is one crucial component for authentic leadership.

As promised / threatened over the last couple of weeks, I’ve entered 2023 – and, my future – with pronounced tenets that are constantly and consciously directing my steps. I’ve clarified four of them; I’ll share them with you over these next four editions.

Tenet #1 for my remaining lifespan: Pack your bags.

Among people who have found new lifeeternal life – through a redemptive relationship with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, there is often a temptation to throw all biblical truths and promises into a blender to create a satisfying smoothie. There’s a problem there: God has always operated on a timeline, and each is intended – by His design – to prepare one for movement from today’s reality into tomorrow’s promises.

Having the promise of a life that will never end can create a bit of an ideological collision if you’re not careful. Will we live forever? That’s a 100% certainty. Will our current life experience continue unchanged? Not a chance in hell (unless we’re alive at the moment of Jesus’ ultimate return).

You’ve heard the directive before: “It’s time to get your affairs in order.” Those lyrics seem to be the chorus in the Melody of Morbidity, don’t they?

In the middle of February last year, that was the counsel I received from solid sources who understood the realities of my disease and life expectancy. I had about three days – sitting at my desk – with that recommendation in front of me: get my affairs in order. Where do you start?

Our estate planning was up-to-date; all of the work of our legal and financial advisors was current and still in keeping with our desires. Check.

My family relationships – with Cheri, Gen2 (that’s our daughters and their husbands) and Gen3 (our grandkiddos) – were all wide open and healthy. Friendships were solid and intact; no unresolved conflicts or historic fallings-out that needed apologies or forgiveness to make them right. Check.

Gratefully, we’ve been in a “load shedding” posture for some time now: no extra homes; no things with motors, insurance or registrations to house or store or maintain. No debt, no-how. Short accounts on every side. Everything that could be on “auto-pay” was on auto-pay. Check.

I wrote checks for the lions-share of our intended Kingdom giving for the year, though we were only six weeks into 2022. That wasn’t conditioned on me “beating the odds;” it was a critical part of being up-to-snuff with what matters most. Check.

As I finished my three-day stint at my desk last February, my affairs were in order. Cheri was dialed-in on the details. As I walked out of my office, my next stop was the City of Hope.

I wasn’t in control of much, at that point, but what I could control was all in-place. Now in remission, we’re keeping things in that same mode: my bags are packed, and I’m ready to go. Check.

Are your affairs in order?That’s our

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6 thoughts on “Pack your Bags”

  1. Thank you, Bob, for keeping our priorities front and center! I love the audio feature of your post! I am taken back to our three years at The Minneapolis Club and all the Godly wisdom you provided us.
    Praying for you today.

  2. I think we all believe we will live to be 100 years old. But the reality is precisely yours. We never know the day or the hour when we get the message you received. Some of us are not lucky enough, and I use that word loosely. Some of us will not get a notice, we just leave the house one day and never return or go to bed and do not wake up. I think the majority of Christians and non-Christians for that matter, don’t have their affairs in order simply because they think they have plenty of time to accomplish that task. Thank you for reminding me that the difference between life and death on earth is one breath away.

  3. Bob, excellent statement about the “Are your affairs in order” check list. Other than the fact that probably more of my regular payments should be on auto pay, (I happen to be at age 82 an old fashioned check writer), my affairs are ordered exactly as yours including having already paid 80% of my 2023 tithe. Thanks for the inspiration to do this helpful comparative analysis!

  4. Bob,
    You have been a role model for countless others, not to mention myself included. The grace, dignity and strength in the face of challenges is a testimony of your trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for all you do.

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