I spent this past weekend with family huddled around my uncle’s hospital bed, alternating between silent contemplation of the reality at hand and laughter over the memories we’ve shared. He was always up for a good laugh, a good beer, and a good genealogical conversation. Four weeks ago, my uncle was swimming 45 minutes a day and attending yoga class 4 times a week. Last week, he was placed on hospice care with a devastatingly grim prognosis. As a former ski instructor, it struck me how fit and healthy his body still looked and it was hard to fit together his appearance with the reality of his situation.
In that hospital room I was reminded of my feelings and emotions surrounding my mom’s death a year and a half ago. Much like my uncle, my mom was the picture of health; she did everything right when it came to taking care of her body. And much like my uncle, her life was snuffed out within a matter of weeks due to an unpreventable and untreatable disease; a quick firestorm of cancer that ravaged her body before our very eyes.
It left me questioning what the point of all the healthy eating and logging all the exercise hours is in the end. Why even bother? I ultimately still can’t control what happens to my body, despite my best efforts. So why put so much time and effort into a false sense of security? Why not live in the pleasures of the here and now with bad-for-you food and skip all of those uncomfortable and ridiculously sweaty workout sessions?
Because of stewardship.
God blesses us many times over and with those blessing we are called to be good stewards, which means to take care of them well. Among others, we are called to be good stewards of our time, our resources, and in my opinion, also our bodies and our health. God knit us together wonderfully and knows how many hairs are on our heads and how many cells are in our bodies. Why would we not take care of something so carefully crafted and loved by the creator? If He is giving us every breath and each heart beat, why would we not do our best to care for the vessel He crafted?
If the chief end of me living healthy is to delay my dying, I’m wrong in my intentions. In the end, God knows when and how He will call us home. I won’t spend time worrying about when my turn comes to get the life ending prognosis. I won’t live my life wondering when my turn is up or be resentful of the effort and time I put forth to care for my body. He’s got it all under control, and whenever He does call me home, I’ll be ready for our joyful reunion, much like my mom and uncle. Until then, I’ll care for my body like it’s my job. Because it is.