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I wonder what they would say...


Imagine yourself standing among the silent witnesses in a cemetery, the air heavy with the weight of their stories. If these souls were to return today, what profound insights would they share about the complexities of life? (Luke 16:19-31)

 

Among these witnesses, there are those whose lives were cut short. On the other end of the spectrum, some experienced a full life, with countless variations in between

 

We would hear lessons on what matters most. For instance, how many witnesses would say that the pursuit of money, status, and possessions is a meaningless competition?

 

I imagine that many people died with some regrets. Some regretted their actions, while others regretted inaction. Some witnesses had attractive outlooks on life and lived full lives, while others lamented their outlooks and lack of engagement. We can’t take a parade of belongings with us, but we can take some things like these to the grave (Luke 16:25).


Over my twenty-four years as a chaplain, I have learned a lot from my patients. They have been wonderful teachers to me. I witnessed profound transformations that occur when one faces mortality. It is a gift of time to set things right ' with God, others, and oneself. These conversations, filled with depth and significance, were sacred, like...


         Gratitude is more powerful than criticism.

         Love is more powerful than hate - always.

         It is never too late to apologize to someone whom you have offended.

Forgiveness is always greater than revenge.

Embarking on a journey to heal one's soul always yields great rewards.

It's never too late to tell someone how you love them and how they blessed you.

It’s never too late to make peace with your past.      

The most important is that it's never too late to make peace with God through Christ.


Psalm 39:4-7

Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. Surely, everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain, they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.


Verses and thoughts like this give us perspectives that are worth our consideration.


How do you want to die? Have you ever been asked this question? The answer may give you the means to live. I have asked this many times as a Chaplain.


I have a dear loved one who was diagnosed with Cancer.  She said that at her age, she had wondered how she would leave this world, and now that she knows, she is wondering what the speed limit will be for her day.  Wow!

 

I had a hospice patient in eastern KY who owned a gas station and was a deacon in the Baptist church for over thirty years.  He was a man who would have fit well on the Andy Griffith Show.  He was a man of outstanding character, full of scripture, and had a beautiful family.  He lived in a way that demonstrated his love for God, his family, and others.  Days before his death, he asked me why his family didn’t show any emotions about his fate. I asked him if he had ever told his family he loved them.  He said, “No, but I showed it every day.”  I agreed with him and said I witnessed that, but what would it look like if you told them? He said, “I don’t know, but I want to.”  I invited his family into his bedroom, and He spoke to each one, telling them he loved them.  We had a cry fest.  He had been married for over fifty years, and his wife never heard these words.  His children were grown adults and had never heard these words. His grandkids never heard these words. Shortly after this, he passed, sharing his heart with those he loved the most.  His children still thank me for this movement that happened in 2001.

 

Hospice defines a good death as peace with God, others, and life.  A satisfied and complete life. Yes, it is possible.  I have witnessed this in others. I am in high pursuit of this personally. I have found this a highly admirable goal that I have seen in others.

 

We are never guaranteed tomorrow, much less this afternoon. As a chaplain, I officiated a funeral for one of my patients, and exactly seven days later, I officiated my patient’s son’s funeral.  I don’t share this to scare us but to wake us up to the reality that life is fragile with no guarantees.  It is time to move towards peace with our lives, others, and God.

 

Scripture tells us that what is seen is temporal, but what is unseen is eternal. Today, we can change the path of our lives. Those who have gone before us may or may not have had this opportunity, but we do.

 

What will we do with the rest of this day and the days ahead?  I've heard that the day we make peace for our death is the day we begin to live truly. This is our moment to make any changes necessary to have a good death and, therefore, a good life.


You can reach out if you have things to discuss regarding your life and making peace.


Peace,

Rob

 

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