Almost Living vs. Fully Living

It was mid-day. It was downtown. It was a city in the Northeast.

A woman was standing at an intersection of two busy streets. She was waiting for the traffic light to turn green so that she could walk across the four-lane street in the white-painted crosswalk.

While the woman waited on the cornersidewalk, she noticed a teenage girl—about seventeen years old—on the opposite side of the street. The young girl was also waiting for the green light.

What attracted the woman’s attention to the girl was the reality that the girl was deeply upset. She was sobbing. Uncontrollably.

Just then, the traffic light changed from red to green.

The woman continued her gaze on the teenage girl as the two of them approached each other in the white-painted crosswalk.

Everything in the woman wanted to reach out to the girl, to touch her, to ask her how she might help her.

The woman came within ten feet…then six feet…then two feet of the girl.

The woman slowed her steps. Then she passed by the weeping girl. The woman continued walking in the painted crosswalk until she reached the other side of the street.

The woman never spoke a word.

For the remainder of that day, the woman was haunted by the look of pain etched onto the girl’s face.

The woman was more intensely shaken by the reality that she…did…nothing.

Twenty-three years after the incident in the white-painted crosswalk, the woman still remembers that she almost did something.

But only…almost.

Everyone dies. But not everyone lives.

Many settle for almost…living.


Many of us have many opportunities to say a kind word, to do a good deed, to give to a worthy cause.

But we stop short.

We almost say. We almost do. We almost give.

We almost…live.

This month, April, we celebrate the definitive event of our faith: Easter. The singular experience of Easter represents the fullness of God’s human Son, Jesus.

Jesus did not “almost” love. Jesus fully loved. Jesus did not “almost” suffer. Jesus fully suffered. Jesus did not “almost” live. Jesus fully lived.

As seekers and followers of Jesus, we are called to live in the same manner: To move from almost…to fully.

Jesus himself described one of his life purposes: I came that you may have life, and have it fully. (John 10:10)

This fullness is measured by quality, rather than by quantity. By the quality of goodness, of kindness and of generosity.

You are invited to witness the fullness of Jesus’ life by participating in the holy services on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

You are invited to contribute the fullness of Jesus’ life by participating in the Sunday ministries of greeting, reading scripture, ushering, serving Communion, providing refreshments and providing elements for Communion (bread and juice).

You are invited to share in the fullness of Jesus’ life by participating in the simple campaign to eliminate our church’s heating bill debt. (See opposite page.)

You are invited to imitate the fullness of Jesus’ life by fully living. To move from almost attending, almost doing and almost giving to being fully present, being fully active and being fully supportive.

What happens if we choose “almost…living”?

The 18th Century philosopher Edmund Burke once observed: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”

In this season when we celebrate the fullness of the life of our Savior, may each of us choose—not “almost…living”—but fully living.

Beside you in the journey of faith,
Rev. Barbara