I have finally become convinced I am dying.
On the heels of a mentally and physically disappointing 8 month stretch, I am finding myself comfortable with having one foot in the grave. It wasn’t the severe depression that led me here. It wasn’t the findings of a heart issue. It wasn’t the car wreck. I don’t think I could actually pinpoint what led me to this discovery, but I think we would all be better if we had this nonchalant acceptance.
I started more than a dozen times to write the children letters in the face of this realization. I never knew quite what to say so I stared at blank sheets at 2 am and ended up pacing the house. I didn’t want to leave them without my words, but none felt adequate enough. How do you write “Goodbye” when you know in a few hours you will be saying “Good Morning” and slinging cereal into bowls?
I raced through the summer trying to create huge memories for them. Playing in the waves of the ocean, teaching them to swim, movies, fireworks, skating, visits with friends, bowling, day trip to the mountains and all I felt was the physical exhaustion of trying to make each second more brilliant than the next. Constantly on the verge of tears as I looked at my husband and children and wondering how loss would collide into their days, I tried to memorize the way sunlight hit hair, snaggle toothed grins and tanned skin. I would then berate myself because why I am trying so hard to memorize them, when it is “Me” that will be gone.
Me. The one dying. Almost 40 years on this Earth and up to this point I have felt alive. Sure, I have had some brutal lessons in the hard life. I have endured heartache, grief, disappointment, betrayal and about everything else in the “negative” column in life experiences. Yet, in the truth of it all, I never thought I could possibly leave this life. A few close calls but never thought I would be snuffed out. I’ve leaned out of high windows, hitchhiked with strangers, wandered alleys at 3am to just see what it was like, driven too fast, eaten way too much fried foods, not said “I’m sorry” and forgotten to say “I love you.”
Now I know I am dying. We all are and I don’t think we really start living until we know we are dying.
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom
I’ve contemplated that moment and even questioned my beliefs about all of it. Will it be one minute and then the next in Heaven? Will I think of who I have left behind? Will I get to keep my memories in the whole angel bit? Will I recognize those who went before me? Will God let me keep tabs on those still on the circle of dirt and air? How is it possible to be so far away from those I love and not know when I will see them again? Will I have a legacy?
I don’t know what my diagnosis is going to eventually be or how much longer I have, but I know with certainty that life is fatal and I have no immunity. I don’t know why it hit me so strongly or if this will wane and I will be invincible again.
I have stories to tell of an interesting life to my children and I have things I have procrastinated or blatantly given up that were talents bestowed by God that I need to finish to at least give Him the glory and head nod of thanks.
Do we all get to this point? Do we realize how much we have wasted in the pursuit of “The Something Better” or “The Something That Tomorrow Will Bring?”
James 4:14Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
I’ve written here for a long time. Silly songs, poems, fiction, stories of my children, stories of my pain and stories of my faith. It is scattered, but then so I have been. I’ve started and I have stopped. I have lived with no recognition of time slipping by. I had disregard for the gifts I have been given and stowed them while I just tried to distract myself. That’s what I am most upset about; a life of distraction.
Perhaps this is a midlife crisis (which is good because that means I have another 38 years to get it right) but I just wanted to share it with you, because maybe you are still distracted and maybe you know you are dying.
Maybe we can start living more intentional and not be focused on the high scores of the moment.
Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.
You are in my prayers. I hope and pray that you are in the middle of your life, and that the miracle of God working through modern medicine enables you to live a long and full life.
It’s interesting that you write about this today. I turned 60 a couple of months ago and I, too, have been thinking about my mortality. Sixty used to seem like such a big number and that I would officially be old when I got there. Well, I’m here and “here” doesn’t seem any different than “before” did. I am still relatively healthy, but somewhere along the way dealing with the aging process got to be a bigger deal. I tripped and fell on the 4th of July, landing squarely on my butt, elbow and side of the head. Before 60, I would have laughed it off and been suitably mortified that everybody saw it happen., This time, my first thought was “Dear God, don’t let anything be broken”. (I was also very grateful that I missed the big pile of dog poo by mere inches, but I digress.)
The verse that God has given me as I have wrestled with this aging bit is the one where Paul talks about living is good, but to die is gain. (loosely translated). The crux of it for me is IT’S ALL GOOD. It is a win-win. If I live to be a really old lady, I plan to be one of those spoken about as “don’t pay any attention to her antics, she’s just old”. If I go tomorrow, that’s even better. I’ve reached the tipping point where I have about as much family in Heaven as I do on Earth. How can I possibly lose?
These are just some of the thoughts that ramble around in my head when sleep won’t come. Love you and pray for you often!