I’ve just finished Jimmy Carter’s latest book: A Full Life: Reflections At Ninety. The last paragraph was most thought-provoking. He writes:
“The life we have now is the best of all. We have an expanding and harmonious family, a rich life in our church and the Plains community, and a diversity of projects at The Carter Center that is adventurous and exciting. Rosalynn and I . . . are blessed with good health and look to the future with eagerness and confidence, but are prepared for inevitable adversity when it comes.”
And of course, adversity did come not long after the book was published.
Here’s his life: A family he can be proud of. A place to serve in his church and community. Interesting and challenging work and the health to pursue it. Hope and confidence for the future. If there’s anything missing, I can’t imagine what it could be.
His words remind me of some in the Bible: “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 8:15 but see also 2:24 and 3:12).
We could be envious of the former President. But no life so blessed occurs by luck. It requires planning, purpose, and effort. When you get near the end of your road, where do you want to be? What do you want your life to look like at ninety? What are you doing to make it so?