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Monday, January 24, 2011

To Live with Death in Mind

This morning as I backed out of my drive and drove away to work, I glanced over at my house. My mind jumped instantly to the thought, "I wonder what Donna was thinking about as she drove away from the house on that last day." (For those who do not know me or who have not read this blog before, my late wife, Donna, died in a automobile accident in 2008.)

My mind turned to contemplation. First the old: do we live for the moment or do we live in the moment?

Then, I started wondering: if we knew that we would die in the next few minutes, hours, or days, what would we spend time thinking about. Would we dwell on hurt, disappointment, anger, jealousy, and pain? Would we live in the past, whether sad or joyful? Would we continue to allow our frustrations to dominate us?

Or...would we notice the beauty around us? Would we relish this moment? Would we contemplate love and goodness?

I actually tried some of this on my drive in to work. I noticed the water-color appearance of the clouds against the sky, even the stark crispness of leafless trees etched against that same sky. Then, there were the evergreens holding on to their needles in contrast to their naked neighbors. And, of course, I had to be grateful that the sun was not in my eyes! It actually became a more pleasant drive.

Seems to me the scripture even speaks to this:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)

Wow! So, dying or not, our thoughts should be consumed with the good stuff of life and not bogged down with the bad.

Now, I'm not sure that our thoughts will change how we die, but I am convinced that our thoughts can change how we live. Can you imagine the possibilities?