Dying Well—-#17 of the 30 day challenge to blog

While I do struggle in the dark room of my heart not wanting to “go on” from time to time…while I I do still have air in my lungs, I wonder how I can live well. Really well. Because if I”m gonna stick around, I don’t just want to survive, I want to live. And surviving is barely living. The secret may be more found in death, that it is in life.

I was driving the other day, and it may sound morbid, but I started picturing myself in a coffin six feet beneath the earth.

Real quick. And I mean real quick…like a defibrillator to my soul I started thinking about life and living it well. I find it inspiring to say the least that to live well we might need to think about dying well. There are several ways I don’t want to die, like by fire, drowning, or a plane wreck…Plane wreck might be my top pick to not die. Why? Because dying is bad enough, I don’t want to shit my pants right before I kick the bucket. That’s why.

But when I pictured myself in that coffin I started thinking about life. About what matters to me most. My God, my wife, my daughters, my friends…but then I started to think about all my ambitions. I started going, you know I’m never going to be on Saturday Night Live…a life long ambition of mine…but that’s okay…in 200 years we will all be dead, and nobody will give a shit, that a show called Saturday Night Live existed. And do you know what happened in that moment? I felt free.

I didn’t care as much about my ambition to be on SNL. And then like a child currling himself up in a ball and rolling down a steep hill…I started doing that across the board with ALL of my ambitions…to travel the world, to be on a sitcom, to write an action movie starring me & bruce willis (Hey! I can dream can’t I??)…and to be a vagabond evangelist, to start preach God’s love in a bar in Hollywood…and one by one as I pictured myself in this coffin…imagining all my ambitions…they were knocked away. They faded away into the darkness…and all that was left in my mind was My God, my wife & kids, and my friends…and loving them well. Loving them with compassion, servanthood, and truth…the kind of truth that is born out of the wisdom that knows that our time on this earth is temporary…no matter how important we think we are…the truth that is born out of love…and if you have last words you want to tell your loved ones…you probably shouldn’t wait.

The point is, I felt free. Free to love, when all those ambitions faded away. With them falling into the abyss I could spend my time loving God & people until it’s my time to go…and on that fateful day with death comes knocking at my door…yeah, I may yell back…be there in a minute and jump out the back window…but when death finally catches up to me and clobbers me into submission…I can fade away too…but knowing whether I lived to be 36 or 86…I will have lived life well, and therefore can truly rest in peace…We, all say rest in peace as a common courtesy, but how can we rest in peace, if we haven’t lived well. I want to die well when I go…and I think that the only way I can die well, is to live well. And then should my life be cut short, I don’t think it will matter as much because in those final moments before I do fade away…I think I can have peace knowing I lived life well…for what really mattered, and that is loving God & loving people.

Everything else is just stuff that will pass away. Career, prestige, ambitions, success, failure, riches, poverty…one day that will all be gone…and all that will be left is how we loved.

You know they say as your dying, all you will see in the end is the faces of your loved ones. You’re not gonna think about the job you got or you didn’t get, if you got fame or you got shame, all you’re going to think about is those you love…And as I was in my imaginary coffin picturing my wife, and daughters I started internally going…I want every day to be filled with writing them one more love letter…I want to laugh a little longer, and walk around that extra block when we take a family walk.

I think Jesus was right and way more ways than we realize when he said…”If you truly want to find your life you have to loose it.” Pursuing dreams, having goals, working to make the impossible possible…has it’s perks, it can be fun…but in the end if all those things aren’t baptized into the fire of loving God and loving empty…if they all to serve me as king of my own kingdom…they feel incredibly empty…I think the only hope for all my ambitions is for them to die. For them to truly be murdered, and if they are to raise from the dead, they need to be new…and even if on the outside they look similar…my dreams need a new heart…a heart that’s not here to worship me, serve me, congratulate me, pat me on the back and all that empty shit….but to worship Jesus, serve Jesus and people, and love them well. Or as well as I can, which always involves a level of saying I’m sorry, and pleading for forgiveness…

You know they say in 100 years, your memory will almost be faded into nothing…and in 200 years….you will be totally forgotten.

But I actually want to get that party started right away. I’d like to be the first to forget myself. Before anyone else gets the pleasure…I’d like to swim against the raging river of our cultural values…and not purse my dreams…not pursue my ambitions….not pursue my desires…and not pursue me….I’d like to obey Jesus when he said…in Luke 9:23…”If you want to follow me…go ahead…but leave you behind…”(That’s a DLS paraphrase version by the way)….because I think in forgetting myself holds the key to how I can love well, and if I can love well…I can live well…and if I lived well…than I can die well….and truly rest in peace.

David Leo Schultz

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~ by David Leo Schultz on October 21, 2015.

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