but can every man - or woman - say that they lived the kind of life that really mattered? Now I don't want to get too morbid about things, but Pope John Paul reminds us that our life has to count for something. God gave us our life for His purpose, and we all have a destiny to fulfill.
I remember when John Paul II was shot in 1981. I had just become a Christian that spring and I was full of confidence that whatever I asked God he would give me. So I prayed for the Pope to recover. I remember standing outside an Assemblies of God church, praying with my mom, a couple of church members and the pastor about the shootings of President Reagan and the Pope. Both of them recovered from the assassination attempts, and now both of them have died.
But their lives left an indelible imprint on the rest of us. Whether you agree with their politics or their theology or not, they made an impact on the world. Their lives serve to remind us not to take life cheaply, to make something of it.
John Paul fought the Nazis in WWII as a partisan. He helped bring about the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe, first in Poland and then through Poland's example in other former Soviet bloc states. Eventually the Soviet Union itself collapsed. But it got started in Gdansk and Katowice and the folks in Solidarity saw in the Pope one who knew that Christianity involved not only spiritual beliefs, but also social justice and relief of poverty.
So this time makes me reflect on making a difference. Are we participating in life or are we spectators of it? Are we -- am I -- living the kind of life I would wish I had lived when it comes my time to die? Will there be any regrets, or will I look forward to leaving knowing that I have accomplished my purpose? Will you?