Inspiration from those who are dying should be bottled and prescribed to us the living, so that we can learn from their mistakes and lead a life free from regrets.
When the terminally ill enter the departure lounge of life, initially they may feel anything from denial, fear, anger, and remorse but eventually they reach a place of acceptance. At this point they can see things with great clarity; they can step outside of life and take a long hard look. The dying are more concerned about how they lived their lives rather than the sting of death itself. It is this clarity and wisdom that we can draw inspiration from.
The dying sometimes experience a period of time where they find themselves trapped in the departure lounge of life. A period of time in between the point of realisation that they are going to die to the point where death finally steals them away. For the terminally ill, this world in between life and death, can last from years to sometimes just days. Those who exit mortality through accidental death or death by misadventure can still experience this twilight between worlds, all be it momentary.
Everyone knows that young men are invincible and bad things only ever happen to other people and as a young student I was no exception to such folly. When my friend invited me to go mountain climbing with him, the fact that it was the middle of winter and that we did not have the proper equipment were of no consequence. We set off in high spirits towards the nearest snow capped peak and it was not until we neared the summit that I realised that my boots were no match for the ice and snow.
I lost my footing and found myself sliding down a snow field gaining momentum as I headed for the precipice of a 300 foot cliff. I felt powerless; there was nothing that I could do to prevent the inevitable. Time seemed to slow down and my life flashed before my eyes, as I entered the twilight between life and death. I did not fear the jaws of death so much as loosing the precious years that had been given me. Surprisingly I was more concerned about the way I had lived my life than the prospect of losing it. I cried out to God and miraculously I cheated death by smashing into a snow drift just meters from the cliffs edge.
Many of us tend to live in the future, we say tomorrow revival will come and we wait while time slips by. We say, today I will work but tomorrow I will spend time with my loved ones, but of course tomorrow never comes. One of the main regrets of the dying is that they wish they had not worked quite so hard. You don’t know what you have got until it’s gone and the dying miss their loved ones and their friends. Could we the living, avoid this by trading our high maintenance, materialistic lifestyles for a life lived out more simply?
In the departure lounge the dying regret not having the courage to be themselves rather than what others expect of them. Instead they face the prospect of going to the grave with unfulfilled destinies and dreams knowing that they have only themselves to blame. Many caught in the departure lounge of life wish that they had traded their pursuit of material comforts for a lighter hearted lifestyle allowing themselves to be happier.
I remember when my wife had chest pains and difficulty breathing and following an x-ray the doctors found shadows on her lungs. At the time the doctors suspected cancer and the thought of losing her caused my strength to drain away and I felt like I was free falling into an eternal darkness. Fortunately for me, at this point I felt the presence of Jesus reach out and catch me, His presence reassured me that she was going to be alright and I found the strength to carry on. Following further tests they discovered that it was not cancer but TB and following treatment she was cured within a year.
Whilst comforting the bereaved who are left behind, God experiences entirely different emotions when his people depart this life. He is jubilant because finally He gets to welcome his sons and daughters home. He gets their undivided attention without having to share their affection with the distractions of mortal life. For the Christian, life is but a breath and death is a doorway into the waiting arms of a loving God.
If you are suffering the loss of a loved one, then reach out in prayer for his comforting presence and reassurance.
For those of us who are the living, step outside of life and take a long hard look. Find inspiration from those in the departure lounge of life. Stop living in the future and live for today, don’t allow work to steal you from your loved ones and be true to yourself, who God made you to be and live your life more simply.
If you are reading this and have never experienced the loving presence of God then don’t leave this site without reading ‘Meet Jesus’ by Pastor Duke.