A Time to Die Blog Hop

By Brent King On October 27, 2014 Under Authors, Books, Writing

“Teach us, O Lord, to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom…”

If I had one year left to live, what would I do?

A Time to DieThe premise of Nadine Brandes’ new book is a real thought provoker. Throughout the last decade I have thought about it a lot. What does death mean to me? How does it affect my life? I have come to realize that life can’t mean anything unless death does. Peter Kreeft expands this:

“…if death is not meaningful, then life, in the final analysis, is not meaning-full. For death is the final analysis. If there is nothing at the end of the road, then the road leads nowhere, points to nothing, means nothing” (Love is Stronger Than Death).

Every hour is important because my death is important. What I do now points toward my death. Consequently, the things I do now should not contradict its meaning.

Prayer is One of Those Things

Prayer is life’s rehearsal for death. Peter Kreeft says that “prayer in actual practice is entering into God’s presence. To enter God’s presence, we must die to our own. God told Moses that no one could see His face and live. It is through prayer that I die to the desire to be my own god, my own father and let God father me; let God be god. So prayer is not just another picture of death, but the ultimate essence of it. Through prayer I prepare for (rehearse) my last turning to God, my own physical death. It is the best preparation for death because I am taken out of myself and into the presence of God—into closer intimacy with Christ” (Ibid).

Relationship is Another One of Those Things

Life is not about me. It is about us. In my book, The Grip of Grace, I talk about this as it relates to death:

As each generation blends into the next, we each play our part, a crucial part. For soon we will fall, pierced through with the arrows of time, the sword of our strength broken at the hilts. As we fall, our children will catch that banner that we caught from our father—the very one they’ll pass on to their kids. Casting their swords high, they’ll sing as they catch them, for the thrill of the great standard that flies above us and joins us all as one.

Each of us, in turn, thrusts that banner on, until we come to our proud fathers on the other side. Comfort not the fallen. Their comfort is to see their children carry on that flag, and also to recall, in their last breath, a job well done.

A Sharper Focus

Truthfully, my looming death would bring my prayers, my love for others, and my life struggles into greater focus. Though I try to live that way now, only a death sentence like I find in Nadine’s book could bring out my best.

Yet I Haven’t Long to Live

Yet I do have that death sentence. My time on earth is limited, and there is enough time for silence beyond the grave. So while I have light in my eyes, I will pray. I will support my family, friends, clients, and colleagues in every way I can. If I don’t show them and tell them how dear they are to me now, it will soon be too late.

But Could I Be Lighthearted?

I love how lightheartedly Ashlee Willis’ dying friend looked death in the face. Only prayer and love can look death in the face like that.

Nothing is the prey of death: all things are the prey of life (Antoine Bechamp).

In light of all this, would I—could I—approach my death with humor, a smile, and a hymn on my lips, like the martyrs of old? I listen to Saint Lawrence—roasting alive on a barbecue spit—saying, “Please turn me over. I’m not quite done on the other side yet,” and I wonder.

I hope I could.

Visit Nadine’s webpage to hear more authors answer this question. Comment below if you would like to answer the question yourself.

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.- John Donne


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