Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. (Psa. 139:7-8)
Thomas Moore, in his book, “Ageless Soul,” tells the story of sharing an Elizabeth Kubler-Ross video to a class of college students. In the video, she interviews a young man with terminal cancer. While facing his impending death, he seemed to have come to terms with his situation. The students in Moore’s class thought he was experiencing denial. Kubler-Ross considered the man’s responses in a different light.
In her video, the young man told a story of being hurt while working on a farm. The situation could have been serious, but he improved without any lasting issues. He said the experience left him, in some way, prepared to face his cancer. The early experience forced him to consider his own mortality, and appreciate the life he was given. When he was told he was terminal, he was able to look back at his life, and realize that while his life was shorter than he would have liked, the life he had was a good one.
Moore said of the young man, “His story has stayed with me for thirty years, and when I have to face illness or watch a friend die, I remember him and his remarkable point of view. I wouldn’t say that he was courageous but that he had the fullness of life in him. He could live with both the good and the bad.” Every one of us knows that ultimately, we will die. As people of faith, we hope and pray that we will be able to face our death with a proper hope and trust. Hope, for the life we’ve lived and the loves we’ve shared. Trust, in the God we worship and the promise that our lives do not end in death, but continue for all eternity.
Today, pray for the life you are living. Moore called this section of his book, “Vitality and Longevity.” Consider your life, up to this point. Are you living a life of vitality, or just dragging through life? If God gave me the choice, would I rather live to be 60 and live a vital life, than to 90 and live without joy, I would choose vitality, even though that is only about three years and a few months away. As long as you have breath in this life, there are opportunities to live with vitality. Pray for God to guide you to vital opportunities. Your congregation is a good place to start. Many of our churches have ministries that make a difference in our community. Even if you are home bound, writing supportive cards to young people can be a vital ministry. Just about everyone has the ability to do something meaningful. Try it before it is too late, because we are all terminal – sooner or later – and we want to face our mortality with hope and trust.