Strange! For the first time in my life I’ve come face to face with my mortality. I suppose I’ve been here before. We’ve all flirted with death – intentionally or unintentionally. In one way or another we’ve all cheated death, and lived to tell the tale. But this is the first real instance in which I have been genuinely and realistically threatened with my own demise. And yet, I have, to this point, been able to contemplate the issue with a calm logic and resolve. I am not afraid.
Everybody has to die. I could shake my fist at God and wail that I am too young to die. But I’m not. I’ve had a pretty good ride. Don’t misunderstand me. My heart aches that I wouldn’t be around to laugh with Diane, to take pride in my children (my favorite people), or to watch my grandchildren grow. There is a lot I would miss, tons of people I would be sorry to say good-bye to, and a few things that I still wanted to do – that never got done. In that sense, I would regret seeing it all come to an end. But on the other hand, I know that it will never really come to an end. I know who I am and I know what I’m about. And I know that this thing we call mortality is just a little part of life – life that is eternal. I came from somewhere, and sooner or later, I’m going somewhere. The only question is — when, which question is now about to be answered by the evaluations and the performance of modern medicine. And their decision will be a best guess determination. They may make a prognosis and it may be wrong. But with cancer – they seem to be right a lot of the time.
Even so, I’m not afraid. I have no dread of the unknown – because I know. I have a faith that is unshakable that this is all part of an eternal Plan, and that makes it good. I’ve never had a test of faith quite like this. And yet the simplicity of my faith in God and in life beyond this life is so certain that I have not the slightest misgiving over it or doubt in it. I seem to look upon my own potential passing as the beginning of a journey, and a pretty exciting one at that. ‘Crossing over’ as some call it, is to me the equivalent of a great road trip – an unimaginable adventure. My faith is that strong in that untouchable world, because to me it is literally only a heartbeat away. And with that last heartbeat, I know that I shall still be alive and well, anticipating the remainder of the journey into eternity with a perfectly charted course and a crystal clear view of the way ahead. Faith is the opposite of fear. And as I consider the bleakest forecast of the days ahead, I realize I fear nothing. It is invigorating and enlivening to face the future with absolute fearlessness.
Still, don’t misunderstand me. I intend to fight for survival. Our nature is to prefer life to death. I am no different, particularly as I consider my brief journey on earth. What about all those things I must leave behind, and what of the dreams of life I’ve yet to accomplish. And most of all what about Diane. What I would miss the most would be her. What I would regret most leaving behind would be her. And my promise to her compels me to stay, that we may enjoy, complete, and wear out this life together. That determination alone makes me realize how much I love her. For her, if for nothing else, I need to cling tenaciously to life. ‘To be or not to be’ has literally become the question in the most powerfully real sense. As I have resolved before, I have determined again with a will of iron – to stay in this world. There is time enough for eternity. And I commit myself to the reality that my place, for now, is in this estate. If God feels differently he will let me know.