Upon My Death

The other day I got a splitting headache unlike any other. It was the worst.  It was to the point that I started giving my husband a half-joking refresher course on my desired burial requests and future plans for our two boys.

I don’t believe I am sick or that a doctor visit is warranted, it was likely just dehydration. But it did get me really thinking.

Photo by ChelseaChaos
Photo by Chelsea Chaos

What would I want my kids to know if I really were on my deathbed? What would I want you to know? I should write those things down so I can make sure people know that stuff when I die…

And then I thought, why should I wait until I die? I’m here, you’re here. No time like the present.

First and foremost, regardless of whether I go quickly or if I suffer great pain, I am okay. Really, truly okay.

Photo by Stephen M. Katz
Photo by Stephen M. Katz

I have no plans to go anytime soon, but if the good Lord is ready for me, I will go happily and skip down the lane if you know what I’m saying. I will live in that glory and I will watch over all of you with fondness. I love my life here, but I will not let the door hit me on my way out.

I am about to turn 40. Some will think I’m old, and some will think I’m just a pup, but I’ve got some hard-earned notches on my life lessons belt.

Each of these took time and trial and lots of error, but they made life a lot easier. And most of it came about when I decided to completely get over myself.

If I’m on my death bed, here’s what I’d want you to know:

  • Grudges are an atrocious waste of energy and time. Mourn your hurts, attempt mending fences and then set yourself free.
  • Forgiveness is excruciating. But people rarely die thinking they were so glad they held onto their pride.
  • Apologies are golden. Crow can be delicious when you eat it. You’ll never know if you don’t try.
  • Admitting when you are wrong goes a lot further than excuses.
  • Leaning down to embrace a child-when you’d rather give them the spanking of their life-will do both of you a world of good.
  • The demeanor of a cranky child (or parent) can be completely changed by going outside or having a warm bath.
  • Kids will forget all about the toys they begged for if you take the time to really teach them things.
  • Not everyone is easy to love. But the difficult ones need it the most.
  • Take a genuine interest in other people. Life is far better when you take the focus off of yourself.
  • People are more important than things.
  • Rekindle old friendships. Rekindle, rekindle, rekindle!
  • Love Thy Neighbor trumps any theologian’s in-depth analysis of the precious and complicated Bible.
  • When in doubt, love people. It really is that simple.
  • If you have suffered a great hurt, you have been chosen to lead. Nurse your wounds and use the scars to lead others. You’re already gifted with what you need. There’s always someone else.
  • Don’t hide from people. Let them see you.
  • Loving God isn’t always popular and it often alienates the cool kids. But cool kids turn on a dime, and God never falters.
  • Really open your eyes in trying times. You will learn something if you look for it.
  • There will always be hypocrites in church because there are will always be people in church. That is not God’s fault. Don’t shortchange yourself on faith because of people. And besides, I’d rather the hypocrites be at church than anywhere else because one day it might sink in.
  • Don’t judge people that only go to church on Easter and Christmas. You are representing the body of Christ and we want them to come back.
  • Live your life in a way that makes non-believers want a piece of what you’ve got. Draw a curious crowd with your light, not an angry mob with your fist.
  • Ask God to show you the people around you the way He sees them. And more importantly, ask Him to show you the way He sees you. It will give you grace in abundance.

I still stumble with some of these, it has been a lifelong process. I will always be a student of forgiveness and grudges. And loving difficult people. And hiding.

But boy are you glad you know me now instead of then!

And go ahead and cry at my funeral, I want you to. A wise and treasured friend just told me that if you follow your tears, you will find your heart and what really matters. Cry those tears and don’t apologize for them!

And don’t worry. I plan to be one of those old chicks on the news celebrating her 110th birthday with a mind as sharp as a tack.

But in case I don’t, now you know what my tears brought me to. What really matters.

I am grateful for the opportunity to sit down and think of how I want to leave this life, but I also plan to start drinking a lot more water!

Peace and hugs for you, my friends. May we all live long and prosper.

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