Monday, August 2, 2010

#242: A Good Death

The subject wants some delicacy. We are comfortable talking about Christian life, but where are the tomes and pop psychology books instructing us about how die a Christian death? We've had a string of days in a row where my insurance companies are standing between me and the resources I need to live. When this happens, I find myself face to face with my real nemisis: depression, death's handmaiden.

Strangely, it is the human obstacles that give me the most trouble. Tumor? blood clot? bring them on. Surgery? deadly radiation? let's do this. But let some wall eyed weasel in a cheap suit get between me and my doctor and the fight just goes out of me. I turn into a giant beetle from a Kafka novel, rolling in my own mess, waiting for someone else to decide my fate.

So while it may be my destiny to die at the pencil point of some anonymous clerk with a police script in his hand, there can be no dignity in such a death. None of us wants to die at another person's choosing. I much prefer the heartwarming scene where my family is gathered around my sick bed. We say witty and loving things to one another, and then I gently expire as Mrs P holds my hand.

But even this romantic scene misses the real point. A good death is not measured by the moment you spend dying. Rather it is made by measuring the life lived before death's final call. If you would die a good death, live a good life once death starts visiting you. I hope with all my heart to be free of cancers and clots very soon, and I am living my life accordingly. I know it is possible things could work out differently. Let them. If these are my last few months on earth, I will not spend them being angry and resentful toward people I don't know

Death is the end of this chapter of our lives. That much we're sure of. I can't change that, but I can decide how to live the hours between now and then.

I will spend them loving, giving thanks, and working to build a better world that I may never see.

When death comes for me, let him find me there, not in a rocking chair cursing insurance companies through my toothless gums.


1 comment:

  1. Hope you're doing well. You and Mrs. P are in my thoughts, and, as usual, I'm in your corner cheering you on. Love to you both!


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