On one of the few occasions that the disciple was able to Skype the master – who for years has been working with refugees in a remote, far-flung, refugee camp under very difficult and dangerous conditions – a conversation ensued and the disciple asked, “How long will you remain there?”
And the master answered, “Until I am tired of dying.”
Source: Adapted by Philip Chircop from a recently heard story.
“We ought to learn how to die before we die, so that when we die, we won’t die.”
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” John 12:24-25 (The Message)
Once upon a time there was an old man on the brink of death. As he lay in bed, it was clear to a friend sitting nearby that something was troubling him. Finally, the old man broke the silence. “When I was a boy,” he said, “I used to play in a field near the intersection. There, at the intersection stood an old signpost. One day I twisted it so that its arrows directed travelers down the wrong road. As I lie here now, I wonder how many people I misdirected by that action – and by other wrong actions in my life.”
Source | Originally heard during a conference. Here I retell it as I remember it.
What actions in our lives are, perhaps, a source of misdirection to others?
An eight-year-old boy had a younger sister who was dying of leukaemia, and he was told that without a blood transfusion she would die. His parents explained to him that his blood was probably compatible with hers, and if so, he could be the blood donor. They asked him if they could test his blood. He said sure. So they did and it was a good match. Then they asked if he would give his sister a pint of blood, that it could be her only chance of living. He said he would have to think about it overnight.
The next day he went to his parents and said he was willing to donate the blood. So they took him to the hospital where he was put on a gurney beside his six-year-old sister. Both of them were hooked up to IVs. A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then put in the girl’s IV. The boy lay on his gurney in silence while the blood dripped into his sister, until the doctor came over to see how he was doing. Then the boy opened his eyes and asked, “How soon until I start to die?”
PONDER AND CONSIDER
- We have to learn how to die before we die so that when we die we won’t die!
- Dying is about giving, giving your life! Rarely is one asked to give up his own life for someone else. Yet, we are invited daily to make decisions to love and forgive one another. This withholding of judgement, giving the benefit of the doubt, unconditional forgiveness are all part of the “dying before we die”.
- Fullness of life is about giving. Giving freely to the world, what has been given to us – to give. Giving with childlike innocence.
A husband and his wife were sitting in the living room. The husband said to the wife:
“I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.”
She promptly got up, unplugged the big plasma TV and threw out his beer!
Source | Unknown
PONDER AND CONSIDER
Many worry about life after death. The question on their mind is: “Is there life after death?” The most important question ought to be: “Is there life before death?” Are you living or merely existing?