Albert walks in to his doctor’s office for his yearly physical exam as he has done the same time every year that he can remember. The doctor takes him through all of the motions, does the normal tests and then leaves to get the results. After about 30 minutes, the doctor returns with a very sad look on his face.
“Well Doc, what kind of shape am I in this time?” Albert asks.
“Albert, I don’t know what to say. The news is bad. Really bad.”
“What is it Doc?”
“I hate to have to give you such bad news. I can’t find the words to tell you. I really don’t know what to say.”
Albert, being a strong man who appreciates straight talk, tells the doctor, “Ok, don’t beat around the bush. Tell me what you know. I can take it”.
“Well”, says the doctor, “Let me put it this way. I think that you should go to Arkansas and visit the hot springs there for a nice relaxing mud bath. Spend some time soaking in the mud.”
“Oh, so I need to relax a little bit, eh? Will that cure me, Doc?”
“No, Albert, it won’t cure you. And it won’t help you relax. But it will help you get used to being covered in dirt.”
From time to time, we all need to be reminded of our mortality. “As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” (Psa. 103:15)
It is only when we are convinced of the limited time we have on this earth that we feel motivated to plan for where we will spend eternity. That’s why Solomon said, “Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart.” (Eccl. 7:2)
The house of feasting is certainly more fun. But while we are in the house of mourning, we are reminded that death will come to us all. As someone has put it, we are all “terminal.” May we “take it to heart” and live accordingly.
Oh, and if you happen to be in Arkansas anytime soon, I highly recommend the mud bath.