I got an e-mail from a dear friend yesterday. He is facing surgery, pretty serious surgery. He has been very upbeat and positive about it, a model of courage and faith. He shared with me that the recent post on Spring Training had resonated with him. He said I had written it just for him.
One thing he shared is that he tries to remember that every day could be his last. He says that he wants to make sure that whenever he is with someone that he loves, that that person knows how much they mean to him. He went on to say, "I guess this is pretty morbid."
One thing I know about him is he reads the Rule of St. Benedict every year. I was trained in a Benedictine seminary at St. Meninrad, Indiana. One thing that stuck with me was the Benedictine mantra, "Keep death always before you." So I told my friend, "You are not morbid, you are being a good disciple of Benedict."
I am dying. You are dying. Everyone is dying. Sometimes we just get advanced notice of the due date. This could be my last blog because something could happen today. I do not think it is morbid to be aware of that. We just lived through another winter. The trees and bushes are skeletal around here. The grass is yellow. Most of us are not terribly freaked out about this because we have been through plenty of winters. There are also hints of spring. The days ahead will be better. Lot's more sunshine. Warmer weather. Spring foliage. The "death" called winter is not the end. There is hope for tomorrow.
If death is the final word then, yes, by all means, let's pretend it won't happen. Let it pounce upon us unawares like a ravenous lion. Let us numb ourselves to its pending appearance by focusing on fantasies and distractions. But if the story of Jesus is true, then is it not possible to look into the steely eyes of death and the gaping jaws of mortality with hope and even joy?
My friend and I got together yesterday and prayed. He set his life straight with the Lord. We prayed for healing and I annointed him. We hugged. We went on with our day. Did we look at death? Yes. It is foolish to pretend that this operation is not serious. But we looked only briefly and fixed our gaze, instead, on a much greater force: Resurrection Life. He said it best. "I expect it is going to go fine, but I do not want to pretend like this nothing. I am okay however it turns out. I have faith."
Yes, that rings true. Live each day like it may be your last. Tell everyone you love, "I love you." Live a life that matters. And enjoy each day. God loves us and has great plans for our forever! Dying is part of the journey of faith. That is not morbid.
God bless you, R, see you in recovery!