I think about death a lot. I write about death, often.
I am not sure why.
A few Sundays ago, a guest preacher told us a story about his grandmother, and how she died. On the days leading up to her death, hundreds of people came knocking on her door, asking to bid Grandma March one last farewell. Former drug addicts, recovered alcoholics, people she met on the streets, at the grocery stores. They sat by her bed, tattoos and dreadlocks and all, telling stories about how her kindness changed their lives.
The preacher ended his story with this thought,
We are all going to die, right?
I want to die like that.
And I need to start living differently now.
We begin the journey to our deaths at the moment of our births. How I choose to die does not begin the moment I receive a fatal medical diagnosis, or when I am met with a car accident, or the day I turn 65. No, I am dying right now. At this moment.
The length of time I am about to spend finishing this sentence. This is how much closer I am to my death.
How I choose to live is how I choose to die.
I have many favorite quotes from Jonathan Edwards. Some of my favorites are among the words he spoke moments before his unexpected death. For his wife Sarah, who was far away when his sickness struck, he left these words:
Give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her, that the uncommon union, which has so long subsisted between us, has been of such a nature, as I trust is spiritual, and therefore will continue forever.Shortly after leaving his messages for absent members of his family, he looked about and said,
Now where is Jesus of Nazareth, my true and never failing friend?I want to die like that.
I want to die longing to see the face of Christ.
But I know I would not wish to see his face at my deathbed
if I do not wish to see his face right now.
Soul, love rightly.