I love Garfield. I’ve always been a huge fan of Garfield and am old enough to have had a car when it was cool to have a cuddly stick on Garfield on the rear window. In fact I still have that very same stick on Garfield and have been tempted more than once to attempt to revive the trend.
Being a the owner of a cat myself…sorry…I meant to say “servant of a cat”…I get to see Garfield’s aloof, self centred take on life in action pretty much every day, and even more so as my cat is Garfield coloured and just as rotund. When I was growing up I just couldn’t get enough of Garfield’s life philosophy, withering witticisms and sarcastic reposts; covering the walls of my room with profound Garifield-isms such as:
“Lazy is a very strong word. I like to call it selective participation.”
“I used to exercise, but I’m fine now.”
“Publicity is nice, but cake would be better.”
One of my favourite Garfield posters that I had on my wall said this: “He who dies with the most toys wins.”, and it came back into my mind today after a conversation with a friend of mine who told me of the sad passing of a guy that he knew very well. A very successful professional with a keen interests in sports and fitness, his friend had recently retired early in his late fifties only to tragically suffer a massive heart attack five days later. On one of the last occasions my friend had spoken to him, he was quite rightly looking forward to his retirement and was enthusiastically listing all his plans for what he was going to do. Sadly, this wasn’t to be.
There isn’t one of us, no matter what our social standing, size of our bank balance, personal or professional reputation who can guarantee what will happen today, never mind tomorrow. Not one of us. Some of us may feel we are more in control than others or that others appear to have more influence and security than we do, but ultimately…none of us are any different than each other when it comes to being completely unaware of our own life’s timetable. And I share this today not to give you a “downer”, but to inspire you to live, in the right direction. To remind you and I both, to avoid the temptation to put all our focus and energies on the things that this passing life can bring us, but to live with a higher sense of vision and value. Are we living to work or working to live?
As well as the humorous, ironic words of the Garfield poster that once graced my bedroom wall, other words came to my mind today: the words of Jesus. Words that cannot be improved on and words we all would do well to consider carefully again today…
Then he (Jesus) told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Luke 12: 16-21 NLT
In as much as I love Garfield, I’m afraid not all of his advice is wise. I don’t believe that anyone on their death bed ever celebrates how many possessions they have acquired. Real life is not to be found in the acquisition of things or even in the hope that our future plans can provide, but in the awakening to the life that exists in the present eternal moment that exists right now. In this very moment now, the only moment that any of us can ever guarantee, are we aware of God? Everything else, in terms of the reality of the transient nature of our existence in this present world is potentially nothing more than a temporary distraction when compared to the eternal realm of the spirit that each of us actually exists within right now. A realm that I believe, God constantly calls us into; to live by the spirit and the eternal, and not exclusively by mortal flesh and bone and the temporal. Jesus’ words should inspire us to consider where our focus actually is, while we have all still have the time to do that.
Jesus therefore, trumps the funny fat furball every time for me for real life wisdom, even though I still love Garfield. ;)