Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Preparing to present a devotion at a craft group following a presentation by a funeral director, I decided to run with the flow, and get people engaged in the imminence of their death.
‘What do you want said at your funeral?’ I asked.
Nothing elicits thought for the transient nature of life more, for me, then the panpipes instrumental, The Lonely Shepherd. Any time I hear this music I instantly think of my death. And such a thought is a blessing.
It is not a morbid thought. It is the thought grounded in the reality that God could remove my breath and stop my heart within a second. Or, cause me to be diagnosed with cancer tomorrow. These are such humbling realities. It puts all our stresses and complexities and conflicts into context.
The question that arises for me out of the thought of my death is, ‘Am I cherishing the fact that I’m alive?’ Am I holding life lightly? Am I too buried in my work? Am I making enough time for my relationships? — for my wife, my son, my daughters, my parents? What am I putting off that I shouldn’t be? Who is it that will really miss me when I’m gone? And am I making time for these people now? Have these people seen the best of me yet? Have I made all efforts to reconcile with those I’ve aggrieved? Am I making God known? Am I aware of all should be? What should I do before I die?
Have I got any regrets about life? Can I do anything about them? Have I truly accepted the consequences of my actions? Is there joy in my life? What can I do to connect myself to peace, hope and joy?
What am I missing? As opposed to ‘What am I missing out on?’
This is the most pulsating fact of life: you and I are alive, for such a time as this, and yet soon it will be over. As we all know, with grandparents and parents having passed away, or those getting ready for such an event, life seems long, but from some viewpoints of irony it is very short indeed.
It isn’t a morbid thought to plan for one’s funeral; such a thought reminds us how precious life is, and it causes us to cherish the fact that we are alive.