We’re all gonna die. But until that happens . . .
I sometimes wonder about how I will die. When you’ve watched your parents die young and you’ve sat with countless others while they breathed their last breath (i.e. the life of a pastor), it feels quite real. I tend not to deny death. Instead, I tend to be surprised it hasn’t happened yet.
My funeral plans are on my phone if you happen to be with me when I pass away. Grab my phone and look for “If I Die This Year.” (I change it every January 1st.)
My parents died of breast cancer and lymphoma. My grandparents died of “old age” (read: heart issues, lung issues, more cancer.) I could die in an accident, especially since I spend a lot of time in cars and airplanes. My children have had to remind me not to text behind the wheel even at red lights. (Note: I don’t text while driving anymore but confess before you and God that I might text at a red light.)
I could be hit as a pedestrian. I could fall down a flight of stairs. I could contract a super virus. I could be poisoned. I could be struck by lightning.
There are surprise deaths and there are expected deaths and – if I could choose – I’d go with expected. As horrible as it was when my parents died after being poked and prodded and zapped and maimed, we got to say good-bye. We got to relish final conversations and take note of every Last Thing.
Ash Wednesday reminds us that we’re all going to die. But until that happens, I will eat kale. And more importantly, I will try to make my Creator happy out of immense gratitude for this gorgeous life I have been given which has included human skin, a brain that loves to read and learn, taste buds that crave cheese and chocolate, an unspeakably breathtaking planet, and relationships that have embellished and inspired and infuriated and broken and blessed my life beyond all telling.
My theology is that this life is not about getting into heaven. (How much are we actually worshipping God if this is a transactional relationship? I live a “good life” so that I can “go to heaven”?)
My theology is that this life is about making earth as it is in heaven. Jesus taught us to pray to that effect. And I like that about God.
We are all going to die but until that happens, I believe we were born to live lives that make our Creator happy. The details differ but the basic idea is to love as Jesus loves.
A blessed Ash Wednesday to all.