Why do I blog? Sometimes I ask myself that question before I sit down to write. Other times the thoughts are pouring through me so fast I have to pull off the side of the road, write and push “Publish” as fast as I can.
The most sobering things for me to write about are my visits with my Hospice patients. I’ve been serving humanity as a Hospice Chaplain for almost ten years (combined). I walk away from each visit with a new-found appreciation for life. But much more, I walk away contemplating my own life.
Why am I here? What is my purpose? Why was I born?
If I were only interested in getting more subscribers so I could perfect my email-drip campaign, I would probably write about something that’s a lot more popular than death and dying. But I’m not competing for followers. I truly want you, my reader, to stop reading this post and ask yourself this question.
Before I share the question, let me describe to you my visit today.
I met Ray. He is 72 years old, diagnosed with cancer. He spent twenty years in the Air Force, is divorced, has children and grandchildren, is Roman Catholic, and he knows he’s dying.
Looking back on his life, Ray said that he felt he lived a “good life” but wished he had more time. When I asked him what he wanted to do with more time, he described a painting of an indian, mountains, a river, and an eagle on a 36″ circular canvas he would paint. When I asked if he had painted in the past, “Not really,” he replied, “Just something I would like to do.” Ray proceeded to show me on the wall where he would hang his painting.
“Do you have any regrets?” I asked Ray. Silence. “That’s hard to process,” he replied. “Have you ever felt a sense of purpose?” I asked. “Not really,” the reply came out broken through tears. “If you could go back and do it again, what would you do different?” Silence. “That’s too hard to process,” Ray replied again. I ended my visit with prayer, something I always try to do, and I left.
“What do I want to do so bad that I would regret not doing when I could no longer do it?”
There it is. That’s the questions I asked myself as I drove away from my visit with Ray today. And that’s question I ask you.
What will you regret never doing when you can no longer do it?
Friend, this isn’t a ploy. I genuinely ask you this question for one reason only, that when you get to the end of your journey on this earth, you will know why you started it to begin with.
Tomorrow I will meet another dying person. The day after that another, and the day after that another. I will ask them the same questions, and if my tenure as a Hospice Chaplain has revealed anything to me, less than 1% will be able to answer.
Less that 1% of the thousands of people I’ve had the privilege of being with at the end of their lives, can tell me the answer to that question.
The Two Most Important Days in Your Life Are the Day You Were Born And the Day You Find Out Why – Mark Twain
As we approach the time of writing out our new year’s resolutions, before you resolve to do something new, may I suggest you know the answer to that question.
If you don’t know, it’s ok. But don’t let another year go by, (I wouldn’t let another day go by,) without asking yourself that question. In fact, I suggest you ask, and keep asking until you are satisfied with the answer.
Friend, don’t live and never know why. And please don’t wait until the end of your life to ask yourself why you began.
When you know why you were born you will know when it’s your time to die because you will know you have finished what you started. – Jeff Crume