Death Row Diary

Bill PoyckSome people know when they will die… down to the minute. Such is the case of those on death row. With them what is important is different from those of us who live as if we are immortal.

Recently I found a blog where the sister of a death row inmate posted letters he wrote leading up to the date of his execution. It is titled… Death Row Diary and gives a perspective most of us never consider from a man named William Van Poyck who was executed on June 12, 2013 after being sentenced for murder in 1988.

He wrote about how everything suddenly became trivial after Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed his death warrant:

I’ve already thrown or given away 95% of my personal property, the stuff that for years seemed so important. All those great books I’ll never get to read; reams and reams of legal work I’ve been dragging around, and studying, for two decades and which has suddenly lost its relevance.

My magazines and newspapers stack up unread; I have little appetite to waste valuable, irreplaceable hours reading up on current events. Does it really matter to me now what’s happening in the Middle East, or on Wall Street, or how my Miami Dolphins are looking for the upcoming new season? What’s the point? Ditto the TV; I’m uninterested in wasting time watching programs that now mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

The other day I caught myself reaching for my daily vitamin. Really?, I wondered, as the absurdity hit me. Likewise, after 40 years of working out religiously, that’s out the window now. Again, what’s the point? Now, every decision about how to spend the next hour reminds me of Elaine in that “Seinfeld” episode where she had to constantly evaluate whether her boyfriends were really “sponge worthy.”

Question: What is really important? Especially since none of us are guaranteed another year… month… week… day… hour… or second! Thus Jesus said… “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Mt 24:44). Who cares about gas prices… when people are entering eternity without Jesus? What really matters when at any second we slip from now into eternity and stand before God? What is REALLY important?

The Puritans used to say, “Remember death.” It was their way of remembering to live each day of life to its fullest for the glory of God. Paul wrote the same thought in Eph 5:15 “Look carefully then how you walk (Live), not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

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