When did you first begin to deal with your own mortality. We all know we will die one day. It is just something most of us don’t want to think or talk about. Getting older didn’t really impact me until I hit 60. Folks talk about 60 being the new 40 but let’s be honest, I was still 60 meaning I had lived more years than I had left to live. How do you figure that out. Take your current age and double it. If the result is over 100, well …………….😀 Death has been on my mind more often recently. One, because I have had several folks pass away recently. If this is your first time reading my blog, I wrote about my Season of Sadness a few weeks ago. http://thankfulinallthings.com/traveling-through-a-season-of-sadness/ The second reason is I lead a discussion group of men who asked me to lead them through a time where we openly talked about this topic. We are reading Henri Nouwen’s book, “Our Greatest Gift, A Meditation of Dying and Caring” In it he shares, “Dying and death can often bring fear. But the experience of dying and caring for the dying can become the deepest experience of love. Nouwen encourages us to ask: ‘How can my death become fruitful in the lives of others?’ Ultimately, it is the greatest gift we have to offer.”
How can both of these men see death as the greatest gift we have to offer? My experience while suffering from Guillain Barre Syndrome https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie pails in comparison to Tim Keller, my friends who have passed away from cancer, or in John Allen’s case, Parkinson’s. I can say however, that laying in a hospital bed unable to move reveals the depth of your faith. I was totally dependent on others and felt my need for God and the Hope He promises in ways I never had to before. I understood what He meant when He said, like a branch cling to the vine https://biblehub.com/john/15-5.htm or have your house built on a firm foundation rather than sand so that you can weather the storm. http://Build your house on the rock niv As awful as it was, I never want to forget that experience because it brought me closer to God. I felt His peace and presence in inexplicable ways. Henri Nouwen explains it as being brought into the core of your very existence. It happens when you allow yourself or have something happen that moves you from an outer silence or solitude into the inner silence where one’s reason for being is found. Many of us never take the time or are uncomfortable with just being with ourselves with no distractions. It takes some sort of health crisis or losing someone we love to take us into the place of understanding our own mortality. I write to encourage you to take time to come to grips with the fact that you will die one day. By doing so, you can live in a way like the Kellers who do not take one single day for granted.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5089FnvgZwo It will lead you from “the already” to the promise of the “not yet”. In that place, we can be assured death doesn’t have to be terrible as it is not an ending but just as with birth, a new beginning. That place where Jesus went to prepare a place for you and me. https://biblehub.com/john/14-3.htm That way, as Father Nouwen exhorts us, “when it is our time, our death will give new life, new hope, and a new hope to our friends and family. Instead of it producing sadness, it will allow others to find our greatest gift.” The joy of celebrating a life well lived. May your Joy be made full and may you experience abundant life God promises for those who find their way to Him.
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