Friday, September 4, 2009

When Death Plans to Visit

David and I have entered that season when we are taking care of aging parents. Although they are light hearted about having 'one foot in the grave' death is close enough that we have discussed, or are discussing, what is to be done during, and at, their final stage of life. As we are watching these loved ones slow down and their bodies give in to the inevitable the natural inclination is to review their life. This brings revelation, consideration and insight.

As health issues are often what brings death close we take a look at inherited maladies and the cause and effect of good vs. bad choices. Heart disease and diabetes are all encompassing and expensive. Better choices about eating, exercise, stress levels and sleep patterns at any age are documented to make a difference. When you are young you diet and exercise to look good to others. At mid-age we try diet and exercise, again, because we’ve seen too many medications and not enough energy to get outside.

Finances are what decide what level of health care you will receive and, be well aware, there are many levels. Having poor health due to bad choices will reduce any financial situation to ‘limited’ very quickly. Having good health still puts you in poor conditions if you have not financially planned for a time when physically your body will not labor daily. You need to prepare for medical science to keep you alive longer than you expect or desire. Having a place to live that is paid for will be your greatest advantage when you begin to live on a limited income. Expecting to die before financial hardship settles in is NOT a plan.

Relationship skills, or your lack of, are spot lighted in your twilight years. Consequences generated from decisions made concerning family relations throughout your life come home to roost. If you didn’t have time for your children or take care of their needs when they were young don’t be surprised that they will not have time to take care of your needs when you are old. Be the parent, grandparent, sister, brother, Aunt, Uncle, cousin and/or friend you would like to have and you’ll always have someone to sit beside you.

Faith will bring you peace. Where you will go when death comes for you becomes very important when death plans a visit. It is human nature to be afraid of the unknown especially with the possibility of Hell existing soon to be revealed. I fear the overwhelming sadness of the absence of a loved one even when I am certain they will be waiting for me in heaven. That emptiness can be a wide expanse. For myself I find great comfort in Proverbs 3:24” When you lie down, you will not be afraid; you will lie down, and your sleep will be pleasant.” I know that when death comes for me I will be going home to heaven. I want to spend as much time as I can with those I love here on earth but I look forward to the day Christ takes me home.

So what are we doing? Trying once again to eat right, get more exercise and participate in a wellness program. Working, saving and investing wisely for what we anticipate our needs will be when our income becomes limited. Demonstrating love and care for those who will be needed to care for us. Above all else: nurturing our spiritual life so we may be about the work of the kingdom here on earth, experience peace in our passing and hear “well done good and faithful servant…,” Matt. 25:21 upon our arrival home.

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