In light of America’s July 4th celebration of the brave men and women who gave, and who continue to give, their life for freedom, I wonder, where does someone go when they die?
Death is a mystery. Where does one go when they die? What happens to the one we know and love when they suddenly vanish right before our eyes? Now you see me, now you don’t.
I’ve watched countless people take their last breath on this earth as a hospice chaplain, and to this day I still can’t answer my own question. I have an opinion, but not an answer. Everyone has an opinion; medicine, science, and religion all have an opinion of what happens to one who dies, but unless you are the one dying, how can you be absolutely sure? Someone can read about being on the front lines of battle, and can surmise what it must be like, but unless you have actually been there done that, how do you really know?
Many who have had near death experiences, or those who have died and have been resuscitated through the miracle of modern medicine, all share similar fascinating tales, but, even then, if you have never experienced death, how do you really know?
There is another kind of death, other than physical death, that I believe we can all experience; one in which we all can know for ourselves what it truly means to die – The Death of Self. For one to die is for one to live. Every second of every day there are opportunities to die; die to anger, to hate, die to ego, to bitterness, to painful memories that erode our soul.
Everyday each of us possesses the power to lay down our life so that we may pick it back up again. But not the same life; a resurrected life. A life that is stronger, better, more loving, and more genuine. A life that’s new and fun and exciting. A life that we can be absolutely proud of. A life that touches the world with kindness and generosity. A life that makes a difference.
“If I would have learned how to die long before I died I would have lived a much better life,” one of my patients whispered to be before he slipped away before my very eyes.
What are you living for that you should be dying to? Has some wronged you? Is something that happened to you thirty years ago still eating at your soul? Are you stuck in life because you can’t get out of the past?
You can’t fight what’s happened to you. You can’t change what’s happened to you. You can die to it. Death is your key to life. Begin today to die to everything that is keeping you from the life you were created to live. Die while you still have a chance to die on your terms.