A Blue Bag

Today I had to go to the Hospital for a breathing test because my asthma has been acting up for a few months.

I met this wonderful older man who ran my tests, and we talked about our lives in between waiting for different parts of the testing. I was so thankful to have such a character to work with, because he eased my tension. I was placed in a plastic box – all the sides, and roof were see-through plastic and sealable so he could control the pressure levels to test my lungs.

I commented, “I feel like I’m in one of those glass coffins they put foreign dignitaries in when they’re dead and on display for the country, like Mao.” “Or Lennon, I think” he added. Clearly he’s had this conversation with other patients.

While he only had the door shut for a few minutes, and even though it was completely see through, I still a heavy feeling over me when the door of this tiny box of solitude was locked into place.

I thought “Thank you Lord that I am alive an other day, and that this is but a test and not a reality for me.”

When I said my good-byes to him, I gathered my belongings and went to the elevator to head out. I was standing there when it happened: two staff wheeled a person in a zipped up blue bag on a gurney past me. It was like the entire world froze, yet for them it was business as usual.

Who was this person in the blue bag?

What was their legacy? Was someone somewhere falling apart because this person is no longer breathing? Did they know Jesus? Was the family prepared or was this a tragic accident? Were they young? Or had they lived a wonderful and long life?

A simple plastic blue bag. That was it.

It just really had me reflecting on the anecdotes people tell about how it doesn’t matter what kind of car we drive, or how much money we have in the bank, when we’re dead, we’re all the same – gone.

This person could have been a multimillionaire, and they were in the same blue bag as would have been used for the poorest person around. This same bag covers criminals, and those who live their lives justly. It doesn’t discriminate. It just sends one message: Your time here on earth is done.

We’ve all been there: a phone call in the middle of the night. An unexpected diagnosis. An act of violence. Suddenly our world is flipped upside down, and a relationship we have is forever broken.

We’re all going to face this someday. Each and every one us will die.  I am thankful for my faith, and the promises of a new body, a place of no trials or tribulations and only love.

But, I have to live here until I get there.

I want to live so that people will be better off when I get my blue bag. I want to have peace with whomever I can while I can. I want to spend less time around those who don’t want to live for peace.

I want to be strong enough to have boundaries in place to keep myself healthy mentally and physically. I want to be happy, and spend a lot of each day smiling, laughing and singing praise.

I want to be known for my positive attributes, so I need to work on them and in doing so naturally my negative attributes will lessen.

I want to inspire others, to give out endless compliments, to encourage, and comfort. I want to love deeply. I want to be known as passionate, kind, and giving. I want to be a friend to all.

I want the world to be a better place when I get my bag than it was the day before my birth.

I don’t want to be wheeled through the halls in my blue bag and have people think “we never got to resolve that issue.” I don’t want people to be relieved when I get my blue bag. I don’t want them to be sad either – rather, I want them rejoice in my new address and be thankful to have known me while I was here.

What do you want to go into your blue bag with you? Memories of bitterness, resentment and anger? Or stories that bring your loved ones joy and peace in your absence?

How will you fill your blue bag?

Only we can control what legacy we leave behind. It is only in our own hands how the world will be when we each receive our blue bag.

“…Run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you…” – 1 Timothy 6:11-12 NLT

2 thoughts on “A Blue Bag

  1. Great thoughts to contemplate and meditate on. Thanks for these words of wisdom Leslie. I too saw many blue bags duration my work at the hospital. Certainly easy to take death for granted, when you see it allot. Nice to know we have eternal life awaiting us with no more ” blue bags” to worry about.
    Stan

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