Sometimes it is good for us to think about dying. I think about it a lot and I’ve come close to doing it. A year ago this past week, I slipped on Ice landing backwards headfirst on a cement sidewalk. I suffered a severe concussion resulting in the diagnosis of Traumatic Brain Injury by Vanderbilt neurologists. After the first 5 months of recovery I had some good days and weeks but this was not the norm. Much of last year I had headaches, dizziness, depression, extra forgetfulness, daunting weakness and insomnia. I walked around feeling half knocked out. When I hit the cement I was wearing a thick winter wool cap which stayed on my head until Sara found me slumped in my car leaning on the horn. I was out for more than 30 minutes. How I got in the car to drive home, drove the short distance or crossed U.S. Highway #2 without an auto accident is yet a mystery, save the Grace of God.
Without my wool cap the accident could have been worse, even fatal. I’m back in the saddle now as my cowboy friends would say. I’m in the office daily, writing, mentoring and consulting. But, I yet feel vulnerable in ways I haven’t previously experienced. I’ve aged. I feel a keener sense of fragile mortality. I also feel grateful, blessed. During my recovery there were dark times when I told the Lord I did not want to be alive if I was going to be so helpless. He is answering this prayer by renewing my health. But, I think about death more now. These thoughts are not entirely new.
For years, my dear daughters have given me a hard time about my death thoughts. They think I’m being morbid. None the less here I am asking you to think about dying as well. Why think about dying? Because you will likely live better, die better and leave a better legacy when you do. We have a limited number of days. Life on this earth is fleeting, finite, vapor thin. Thinking about this helps us think about living fully. Thinking death thoughts inspire us to be present in the moment, to enjoy the beauty in every day, to invest in those we touch, to enjoy the touch and love of others, to ask ourselves why we do what we do, to contemplate the will of God and to sharpen our focus on the legacy we will leave in the hearts of others.
Last week I was thinking about all this while reading a letter Pastor Robert Frederich’s son John wrote to me and others about Robert’s passing. Robert Frederich’s life marked mine. I wrote an article about him, Emulating a Ministry Legacy, to place on our web site. Click here to read it. Before I could get this article posted on-line I received notice Keith Miller, a nationally known author/speaker had taken flight for heaven’s shore. He also touched my life deeply. I wrote another web site article about Keith, Memories of a Genteel Warrior. Click here to read it. These men left ministry legacies worth celebrating! Oh, my. Death, dying and legacy. As gently as I am able to say it, you gonna die. Yes, me too. As you use up each numbered day, I urge you to live in such a way you can celebrate your legacy before you die. Others will celebrate it later.
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