"Every good thing comes to an end, so remember: enjoy the moment while it lasts." I always remember the words of my old uncle. He didn't bathe very often when he got old. "You get chilled easier when you're old," he would say.
Now that I'm pushing the years, I remember him. I try to live in the moment, although sometimes it's hard. I still carry a travelers flask of my favorite beverage, just in case. I haven't taken a sip in twenty-six years, but I carry it nevertheless. In fact, it's what keeps me going. The prospect of one day having to drink the cup.
That day will surely come, but I don't need to celebrate it before it's here. In fact, I won't be celebrating at all. It's fait accompli, I must bear with it. So I live my life in the shadow of death, but not under its weight. I don't recognize it as a dark force but as a shade under which I can enjoy the cool breeze of what life has to offer everyday.
Thus I celebrate the moment as the light seeps through the cracks. The flask keeps me focused and aware of the inner battle that must go on for me to be alive. I'm not ready to die yet, so I must not drink of its contents, old and delicious as they are, because they've been fermenting for all those years, twenty-six in all.
I meet every challenge with a welcome smile. It's what life is all about, a series of challenges, everyday battles in different arenas. Without them what would I do? I must fight in order to survive. I don't look forward to the day I have to drink the cup. Therefore, I think of the positive as much as I can, and I recall the advice of my benefactors and mentors to stay the course and always retreat in an orderly fashion.
The retreat is what life is about, Hanibal fighting on after the battle is declared lost, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Jesus told his disciples that the son of man will see sorrow and be killed but on the third day shall rise. Everyone must bear their cross, if they're to survive the battles of life. To endure to the very end is the object of the game. Why anticipate the moment of death, when the battle is still going on. Nothing is ever lost unless it's conceded and one should never concede what is still winnable.
Thus I carry this burden, a burden that is so light that it does not impair my enjoyment of every moment. I don't need to think about it, although I know it's always there. I can always drink it -- but not now. Now I live and fight on, I fight the good fight. I thank the good Lord for every day He has given me, and I don't despair. In fact, He gives me the courage. I don't derive my courage from the flask that's in my breast pocket, but from His words that are inscribed in my heart. Yes, I'm an alcoholic and a drug addict, but there I go by the grace of God. I shall win another battle today, there is no defeat for me, only victory. The final battle is not on my mind. Why think of it? It only makes me sad. I embrace the moment as I push the inevitable away one more time.
My enemy is confounded. He lies with his face down in defeat. I marvel at his courage and his confidence in attacking me so fiercely that I didn't think I would be able to fend him off. Yet I did. I didn't even reach for the flask. My hand was on the handle of my sword the whole time. He assumed I'd cut and run, but it was poor judgment on his part. I do not look at him triumphantly though, I just move on, another day, another battle won. Why gloat when defeat is so near? Without the prospect of defeat there is no war worth fighting. Victory is a passing phenomenon. It must be enjoyed while it lasts. Tomorrow there is another battle, and another. Life is a war against time.
Every war is eventually lost, but the battle for life must go on. It's better to keep fighting and not think of the final cup. Think positive and thank the Lord for every moment of your life.