My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, June 25, 2009

lessons from dying

What a strange day! We knew Farrah was terminal but it's a shock that Michael Jackson has died. It's like James Dean. Marilyn Monroe. JFK. Princess Di. Anna Nicole. Heath Ledger. Old age is never a guarantee. I still think daily about my stepson's mother dying suddenly at 35 years old. We just never know... so here is my philosophy of life:

1. Know where you're going. There is life after death and there is death after life. As far as I'm concerned, my time here on earth is just a dress rehearsal for eternity. I intend to live my life in such a way that I never have to fear what happens after death. And if I should get to the end of my life and find that all I've believed in isn't true... well, I'll be dead, so it won't matter.

2. Don't leave any unfinished business. I say "I love you" at the end of every conversation with every person that has earned it. I say it often. I say it sincerely. I want people to know what they meant to me while we're both here to talk about it. I may have some things that are out of my control. I may not have achieved everything I hoped to in this life but I have no regrets.

3. Leave a legacy. If I died tomorrow, my nieces would have a treasure chest full of memories and a couple thousand pictures of us together. Without conceit, I can tell you that I know I've left footprints on the hearts of a few people in my orbit. I know that I've left lots of great memories for the people in my life. I know that my kids are who they are because of who their mommy has been. I know that there are people who would mourn my death. I know that my life has not been lived in vain.

4. Don't wait. Eat dessert (not every day, but eat it). Go on that vacation. Read that book you've been meaning to read. Learn french. Enjoy life - you aren't guaranteed a hundred years - enjoy the ones you have. Happiness is the journey, not a destination. Live while you can.

5. Take nothing for granted. I start my day thanking God for a car that runs and air in my tires and gas in my tank and a job to go to and for my daily bread. It was less than a year ago that my heart was shattered to the point that I thought I'd never be able to recover. It was less than a year ago that I didn't even have a bed to sleep on - trust me, 40 is too old to sleep on an air mattress on the floor! It was a week ago that I had a major financial crisis. There is no sure thing. Wealth and health can disappear in the blink of an eye. I have what I have only by the grace of God. There are many beautiful vessels of His grace in my life. God is good.

6. A few words to embrace: compassion. mercy. grace. patience. kindness. gentleness. honor. devotion. loyalty. generousity. sacrifice. encouragement. truth. I want these to be the adjectives that define my life.

Love and hugs, y'all.


Margaret said...

Good post. I'm sad about Farrah...she was such a part of my childhood...

Anonymous said...

Heather...I so fully agree with your post. I really thought about those same things..I even told a friend of mine the same thing. You never know when its "your" time. Thank you for saying some of the things I was thinking!