if i had only 24 hours to live,

24 hours
; corrinne may

if i had only 24 hours to live
what would i do
what would i do?
if i had only 24 hours to breathe
what would i say
what would i say?

it’s easy to lose track
it’s tempting to look back
fill our hearts with regret
for all we couldn’t do
for all we should have done
but didn’t take the time to
well it’s not too late, we’ve still got today

if i had only 24 hours to live
what would i do
what would i do?
if i had only 24 hours to breathe
what would i say
what would i say?

i’d give my love without holding back, holding back
i’d give my heart without keeping track of who would repay
this precious time, melting, oh, melting away.

i’m sick of all my pride
i’m sick of trying to hide
denying what i know is true
these unopened gifts will cease to exist
if i return them all unused
well it’s not too late, i’ve still got today

if i had only 24 hours to live
what would i do
what would i do?
if i had only 24 hours to breathe
what would i say
what would i say?

i would take back every single harsh word that i said
i’d spend my time to hear your sweet, sweet, laughter again
i’d never leave your side with 24 hours to live

i’d hold you tight and never stop kissing your face
i’d write love letters, and frame them up so time couldn’t erase
i’d hope my love would see you through every step of the way

in the past year, i’ve attended a number of funerals, most of them of extended family members. i’ve been confronted with the reality of terminal illness in my own family. all at once, 2011 became the year where mortality became eerily real to me.

as much as we all understand the concept of time, i know for a fact that i take it for granted. i think i’m never going to run out of time. i stubbornly choose to believe that things are not going to change. but as the cliche says, the only constant in life is change. and i love this quote by rick warren: pain is the mother of change. 2011 was a painful year in many ways, and i think that lesson was really hammered home.

this is a question that comes up quite often:

what would you do if you only had 24 hours to live?

and, of course, i do ask myself what i’d do.

each time it jolts me – my responses are different. but two things don’t change: i’d want to make sure my dear family and friends know how much i love them. and i want the world to know that Jesus loves them, and because He loves me, i love them too.

if i had only 24 hours to live, this is what i’d love to do:

take my parents out for a great meal.

i love you, mum and dad.

the meal in itself would not even begin to express my gratitude toward them. they are not perfect parents. but they love me so much, i know they only want the best for me.

we’ll probably go for teochew food, because dad’s teochew. i’ll apologise for the times i chose to be a wilful spoilt brat, and insist on paying for dinner. we’ll laugh at old memories and hopefully build new ones that very night.

 

feed the homeless for a day.

food has always been a huge part of my family. and i hardly remember a time that i’ve gone hungry for more than a few hours. yet i am painfully aware that there are people who feel hungry every single day. they may not know where they can find their next meal. and as someone who has food in the fridge whenever i choose to walk toward it, this reality is heartbreaking.

 

help provide clean water to those who can’t gain access to it.

source: thankyou water.

there are many things i take for granted. time, for one. as well as the simple, basic necessities of life: water from the tap, clean sanitation facilities, electricity.

as someone who believes that God provides, i would donate a sum of money to an organisation like food for thought or thankyou water, which pioneers water sanitation projects for communities that really need it. i couldn’t simply sit on my hands and do nothing.

 

write letters to those i won’t have time to meet.

image source: love-theonlyrule.tumblr.com

in the age of laptop computers, smartphones, whatsapp, facebook, and skype, sometimes i think the art of letter-writing is wedged between maybe’s, if-i-have-time’s, and is kind of a nuisance to some.

don’t get me wrong – i am incredibly thankful for technology and social media. they are all wonderful tools, without which i would not know how to keep in touch with friends and family as often as i do.

as someone who holds words very dear to my heart, holding a letter in my hands and reading something someone took the pains to write means much more than an expensive gift. and well, i’m no famous writer, but i would love to write letters to those whom i love very much, and leave them with something of mine that’s tangible. something they can hold onto, quite literally.

perhaps through the power of words we can relive moments of great joy, or infinite embarrassment. perhaps through the power of words memories can be evoked so strongly, one will wonder if they were transported back in time. or perhaps through mere words, my loved ones can believe they have a piece of me, while i hold onto a piece of them in my heart.

if i had only 24 hours to breathe, this is what i’d love to say:

God gave me the most amazing friends in the world. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

i am not the most easy person to get along with. most of the time, i am crazy, i use the wrong words to express what i really want to say, i sometimes sing in public for no apparent reason, my laughter is best described as raucous… and the list goes on.

yet i have friends who love me for who i am, and believe that i am becoming who God has created me to be.

these are friends who have heard my crazy stories, who encourage me in my writing (even when i have run out of words), who stay up till daybreak on the phone (or instant messaging), who bother to keep in touch despite in being different countries and timezones. these are friends who keep me sane when i think i am going bonkers, who send me links to hilarious articles or photosets that make my day, who not only tolerate but accept my idiosyncrasies, who send me a text or whatsapp to let me know i’m not forgotten amidst their busyness.

friendship is hard to come by. and i have had friends who have somehow walked out of my life. all the same, i’d like to borrow these lyrics from for good (from wicked the musical) to describe our friendship.

you’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart
no matter how our stories may end 
you’ve changed mine by being my friend.

 

don’t take anything and anyone for granted.

it’s easier said than done, of course. but it starts by being mindful of what goes on around you (and me). don’t wake up and rush through life fixated on one thing only. stop and smell the flowers. take a breath. show some love to those around you. and – just as important – love yourself, even when you think you are unlovable.

understand that there are people who slot themselves in pockets of society, willing to be overlooked, just so our cities can function.

students from victoria junior college singapore, with migrant workers. source: facebook

a group of junior college students in singapore recently took the time to sit with three construction workers, and listened to their side of the story. while some singaporeans complain that singapore is getting too crowded, that migrant workers are the source of many of the nation’s issues, the fact remains that these workers lead a hard life. they are paid less than minimum wage, which is disgraceful. yet these are the very people who help build our nation, who lend their hands just so we can proudly say we come from a country with tall buildings, an amazing public transport system, and is almost spotlessly clean to boot.

 

there are good obstacles in life.

“Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.”

– Henri Nouwen

often, the hard things in life are nasty things that i wouldn’t wish on anyone. losing a loved one. financial troubles. heartbreak.

yet again, as cliche as it is, these things build and mould us. they are the very things that give us character.

at the same time, don’t let the obstacles in life give you a rough edge. choose to see the good in everything. try not to generalise.

there will be times when the silence gets too hard to bear. i haven’t been through much, but i know that the crushing weight of silence, darkness and despair can render one debilitated, numb to the world. that, i understand very well. when it all overwhelms, call a friend. ask for help.

sometimes, the silence teaches us that words have a greater meaning. distance may be a test.

you’ll come out stronger, i promise.

 

last but definitely not the least, Jesus loves you.

He loves you.

this is the most important one of all.

christianity does not have a very good reputation – and that’s probably the understatement of the year. and i can understand why. people have done terrible things in the name of God.

i cannot say that i am not a terrible person. i am – to the core – a sinful, hateful, judgemental, irritating girl who is somehow blessed with amazing friends, a wonderful, supportive family, and so much more.

but i can tell you that there is a living God who loved you so much, He sent his son, Jesus, to die for you on the cross. that whatever you’ve done in the past, whatever you believe yourself to be, He knows you are so much more.

i apologise for christians in your past who probably didn’t demonstrate to you. you perhaps have felt judged, discriminated against, belittled. i could have been one of them.

i cannot tell you how sorry i am.

the fact that He loves you won’t change. He wishes to make it a massive reality in your life, if you’ll let Him. life isn’t perfect, not even with Jesus – but i can tell you your life will change. it will be shaken right to its foundations. you’ll find love that will never let you go, and so much more.

after a long, rambling post – for those who are still reading – i do realise these could just be empty words on a screen if i don’t do anything about it.

because time is not infinite, i guess my “24 hours” starts now. to tell the people around me how much i love them. to show God’s love to the world.

if you had 24 hours to live, what would you do? (:

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One Reply to “if i had only 24 hours to live,”

  1. Awww. I see our photo there. If there I really had 24hours left, I’d make an impact on as many ppl’s lives as possible. Give my money to the homeless, buy a meal for the helpless, give love to the hopeless. :)

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