Making friends with Death?
Living well, if the Lord will = making friends with death?!
Hang with me for a few minutes and I’ll explain.
My life has taught me how to accept death.
By my count, I’ve cheated death at least three times in my life.
- As a new (read: young) driver, I passed over an unmarked railroad track just as a train barreled through the intersection. There were no markers, no train whistle blowing, no indication of the danger I faced. Didn’t help that the view was blocked by dense foliage. Once over the tracks, I could literally feel the weighty rush of the train behind me. To this day, I’m the annoying driver checking, then rechecking, before crossing railroad tracks.
- I survived melanoma in an age when the extent of treatment was to just cut it out, hoping the doc got every mutant cell, then cross your damned fingers that it wouldn’t kill ya.
- I survived an aggressive breast cancer and the brutal treatment that followed (I include the treatment because, honestly – that treatment).
Garry would add the time he had to preform the Heimlich maneuver on me, as I was choking on an apple. So, four times, if you’re persnickety.
Wanna know what I’ve learned from those experiences?
I’ve learned that death is closer than any of us think; we take for granted that we’re gonna live forever, that our time to slip from here to there is waaay down the line.
Nope. Not even close.
My enduring takeaway about accepting death:
If you want to live well – make friends with Death.
What the hell?
BFFs with Death?
Well, maybe not that far.
I know this to be true – the longer you live, the closer to death you are. It’s coming for ever’one someway, somehow.
As one who clings to Jesus, death isn’t the end.
Death isn’t the end; it’s the beginning of eternal life.
It’s a move into a new home, with all the fancy-pants amenities. Sounds great, right?
Thing is, I like the home I’m in now. I don’t wanna move.
Yet. Death comes for all.
How exactly can you be friends with death?
Instead of leading with fear, I suggest you embrace the knowledge that your life is gonna end and use that fact to fuel your life here – now.
Knowing there is an ending and a new beginning is freeing.
Decisions aren’t so weighty and hard-edged.
Plans can change. Mistakes can be patched. Life can be lived well, knowing that your friend Death is gonna show up at some point.
~ worst surprise party guest ever ~
Folks balk when I say “your friend” and I get that.
What does making friends with Death mean?
Many hate the idea of death and the end that it represents, so how could you possibly look at it in a friendly way?
How could a shift in perspective help you to live well?
Making friends with Death means to take fear out of what comes for all, to take fear out of the equation of living.
Once fear is out, that space is open to living well, even within the chaos that we can’t control.
Yep, Death will come for you. It will come for me.
I don’t want to leave any time soon. I love me some living.
Yet, I pray that when it does, I will have lived well.
Today, after cheating death at least three times and deciding to make friends with Death, I can say I have.
As one who has actually heard these words come from a doc’s mouth: “You may only have 6-months to live.” I can say that I had an instant and surprising regret on how I had lived my life up until that moment.
- I had loved deeply – no regrets there.
- I had been loved deeply – no regrets there.
- I had a loving and supportive family – no regrets there.
- I had chased after dreams and experienced deep and abiding friendships – no regrets there.
- I had said “no” to the last piece of chocolate cake I had been offered – ALL THE REGRETS there.
- I can honestly tell you that the ONE regret in my life had been that I had denied myself the pleasure of that last piece of cake.
Seems trivial, I know, but it obviously went deeper than cake. It spoke to denying myself something simple that made me happy, compounded by the fear that my life – and hopes of more cake – would soon end.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, WOMAN?!
Knowing Death is inevitable allows us the expanse to live well now – not just when we think death is close.
Making friends with death is simply freeing yourself from fear and denial.
Tell fear to hit the road.
Have the cake.
Original Post: February 8, 2018 ~ Updated Post: February 8, 2022
YUP. To my knowledge, death has never sneaked up on me, but I have that feeling that it did and I just didn’t know. I totally get what you are saying. There was a while when I wondered if wanting to live to 150 was fear of death, but no longer. I actually look forward to seeing how different the world will be. But I’m ready today if God so chooses. (Though He did give me the number 123 a few years ago. )
In addition to accepting death, making friends, as you say, I would also add embracing change. After all, that’s what death is. A. Big. Change. And if we can get friendly with that Big Change, how much better our lives would be if we also accept the changes in our lives. We also need the wisdom to recognize necessary and/or inevitable change from simply rebellious change, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic for you.
I always say, I wanna stay, but if I must, I’ll go.
Thanks for the food for thought!