Kara Tippetts has a chapter in her book And It Was Beautiful entitled Five Thoughts on Dying Well. Her thoughtfulness in writing it is admirable. First off, she says to live with deep forgiveness, followed by living intentionally. She mentions that her past leaning on God served her well during her illness. She invited the reader not to squander a moment of life and finally, to reach out. These are all good observations.
I have been working on the first one. I started somewhat simply with a person who had disappointed me but with whom I did not have too deep a relationship with. Her response was beautiful and it turned out that we had misunderstood one another. She has once again slipped off the radar but because the relationship is not significant, I am ok with how we reconciled and may not continue to be in touch. The next one was more challenging. We had had a close relationship at one point but I had hurt the person and so I reached out and asked for forgiveness. I have never heard back. The third person was part of a penance that a priest gave to me. I did ask for forgiveness and never heard back either. I have long ago learned that the outcome is to be released. We cannot manipulate it or bring it to fruition. All we can do is our part of either receiving or extending forgiveness. The rest belongs to God. If we can get to that freedom, we will die well.
Living intentionally even now can be a challenge. I know that I have been mindful most of my adult life but still, I can be distracted by stuff such as getting lost for hours in social media. I would rather spend time with loved ones. Today, I was puzzled by my mother who has said to several people that she hardly sees me. I have been over almost every other day and called on days I have not come. I have purposely tried to see them more often but apparently that has not been recognized. I am choosing how to spend my time as wisely as I can but there is not enough time to go around. I know that is hurtful to some people. Today, for example, I stopped in to see a woman who is in hospice herself as she has been praying faithfully for me for over a year. This seemed like an important decision. However it meant that I could not see someone else who is recovering from cancer surgery. I hold lightly to my desires and try to be gentle when my intent does not match my energy. I had a lovely email from someone else who noticed that life seemed a little chaotic right now for me and released me from any angst that I may have been feeling about not getting together with her. That was extremely generous and merciful of her.
Tippetts’ point about leaning on God in these times because you have built a strong foundation and habit of doing so is spot on. Today, I joined a friend for Adoration. I had not been for awhile and she had invited me to do. I texted her on a whim–I felt a need with many concerns weighing on my heart this day to spend time with Jesus. This was a wise decision, despite the many tasks calling for my attention. The Trinity has been my strength and my joy. That is what I came to once again, kneeling in front of the monstrance: The rays from the Son dispel the clouds. I was grateful to share this quiet time with my friend. We have made a pact to do it again. I can carry on this week, knowing I have had my time with Jesus who gives me Light for my path.
I am trying not to squander many of my moments. I do manage to sometimes. I have started to play computer games rather than doing something meaningful. I need just to chill out and that is one way but I want to choose different ways. I would rather read or work on a project than do that. I am grateful for so many deep conversations with people, for laughter, and for opportunities to celebrate what loved ones are doing. I keep living as fully as I can. I am going to drink deeply and fall into bed each night, happily exhausted at the goodness that has unfolded during the day.
Reaching out today to my friend was just what I needed. We have meaningful conversations and her insights are helpful to me. I love too that she shares from her life and the relationship is meaningful. I feel privileged to have spent time with my friend in the hospice and hope to visit my other friend soon. I am planning to do a bit of a mission experience when on holidays at the end of August. My heart still has a great desire to serve the least of these and I became aware of a project that could fit into a holiday that I am going on. I have experienced so much love that I still want to pay it forward.
Tippetts’ check list serves me well. I can definitely say I have been working on all of these for decades and that is very good for my soul. Now, I must sleep so that I can maintain my energy for tomorrow. Caring for oneself is important on this journey.
How do you rate on the Five Thoughts that Tippetts shares?
Which area is your strongest suit and which one is a challenge?
Living well leads to dying well
They are connected in inextricable ways
If life is not lived well
Death will be a struggle.
God, keep me living well and
Grant me a peaceful death.