Listening to the talking heads tell us that we should never shake hands again, that the government needs to track those of us who have a fever, that churches should be closed indefinitely, and that the whole world needs to get vaccinated so Bill Gates can move on to his next project is giving me a headache. But their prattling has jarred loose a few thoughts in my frazzled brain. Here’s one of them.
Don’t be stupid with death.
You can’t cheat it by being irresponsible and outrageous.
You can’t avoid it by moving to a log cabin in Montana and ordering your food and toilet paper from Amazon.
At 10:30 in the morning on a warm July day, an 18-year-old man was minding his own business in his own house totally clueless that he had less than one minute to live. An hour earlier, the pilot of a fighter jet decided it wasn’t performing as it should so he bailed out. The plane, however, continued to fly. For six hundred more miles. Over three more countries. Until it ran out of gas and dropped from the sky right in the unsuspecting young man’s bedroom. (The media apparently couldn’t be troubled to find out the dead man’s name.)
The odds are it won’t be the coronavirus or a pilotless jet that delivers you to the pearly gates, but you can bet that there is a date circled in red on the Grim Reaper’s calendar that has your name penciled in. Your way out may be as unusual as being crushed by $50,000 worth of quarters, or as simple as drinking too much carrot juice, but you, and your seven billion brothers and sisters swarming around this planet, won’t be here forever.
We pick neither the time nor the method we leave this world, but we do get to frame the way we go out. So, whether you go by pilotless plane, runaway quarters, or liquified veggies, here’s a three-step method of making sure you go out on your own terms.
- Align your spirit and actions with the instructions in the Bible. God’s word gives perspective and purpose to life; it tells us why we are here, and teaches us how to make sense of it all. Not to mention going to Heaven and avoiding hell. The Bible is the gateway to the best life possible.
- Live today like you are leaving tomorrow. Work hard. Forgive quickly. Laugh often. Spend time with your family instead of with your things. Speak kindness. Express your love. Cheer for others. Listen. Share everything you’ve learned and all you own. At the end of every day, make a list of your blessings and a list of your disappointments. Save the blessings in a drawer. Toss the disappointments in the fire.
- Create an “I’m Gone!” file. Inside, have all the necessary documents your family will need to tidy up the business you’ll leave behind. Include notes to tell your family how much they mean to you, and thank them for adding so much to your life. Let them know that you expect great things from them, and that they need to find someone to give the love they had been sharing with you.
Don’t let the noise gushing from the mouths of the media feed your anxiety. Turn on some lights and eat some cake. Go outside and stare at the sky. Call a friend. Seek out things that make you laugh. Throw rocks. If you do all that AND the three things I’ve mentioned above, you’ll be so busy living you won’t have time to worry about dying.