40 Day Devotional: Day 26: Dying well


“It’s true, I am afraid of dying. I am afraid of the world moving forward without me, of my absence going unnoticed, or worse, being some natural force propelling life on. Is it selfish? Am I such a bad person for dreaming of a world that ends when I do? I don’t mean the world ending with respect to me, but every set of eyes closing with mine.”

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Yesterday I visited an ill elderly person. Last week she was still fine and clear-minded. But this week she was scared, disoriented and there was a empty gaze in her eyes, as if her soul was already trying to leave her body.

It was painful to watch a fellow human being suffering and it reminded me again of my own mortality.
I think dying can be very lonely, especially when you’re not really present anymore in spirit and soul.

If you are lucky enough to be fully conscious of the fact that you’re dying, you can say goodbye, die with dignity and make it a last spiritual exercise on earth, one last act of giving to the world around you. This is what Henri Nouwen writes in his book:

Our greatest gift: A meditation on caring and dying.

For me it is a lifelong challenge to go from the self-centered view of death and dying, a view caused by fear, to the more surrendering and trusting, gentle and meditative view that Henri Nouwen had, when he did not have long left to live.

Wishing you peace today.

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