WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
In life, many things offer different perspectives. Most things offer us the opportunity to support different views. But few things require more from us than to examine our positions and to revisit our perspective facing head-on our mortality.
Several months ago, I was on the receiving end of a medical snafu that left me thinking my time here was nearly done. It took weeks before I learned that was not the case, that I was fine.
Now, on the surface, that seems like a horrible experience, but the truth is it wasn’t. During that time, I spent a lot of time thinking about my life, how I’d spent it, what I’d done and what I’d be leaving undone.
I examined many things from many perspectives. And I discovered that I wouldn’t be leaving home but going home.
I discovered that I had loved well and been well loved. And that when all is said and done, life doesn’t offer better than this.
It was, naturally, a difficult time. In some ways that I expected and in some that I hadn’t. I was admittedly relieved to learn I was okay. Actually, I was jubilant. I didn’t share this experience with many, but with several that I did, on learning I was okay and after experiencing the relief, then came their upset. At the snafu, at the weeks of thinking and preparing and accepting.
Relief, yes. That I most definitely did feel. But I couldn’t feel those other things. Because in the experience I gained an opportunity to know what would most matter to me when in that position, and I gained the opportunity in the reprieve from that situation in time to do something about it.
I discovered an enormous number of important insights, and already the lessons learned have been put to use in relationships with others who have received terminal news. I’m grateful I can not only offer sympathy but empathy to these people. I’m grateful I really understand the decisions they’re making which might not seem logical to some but are totally logical to them.
The shift in perspective of leaving home to going home is significant. There’s comfort and solace in knowing that the end of this life is the beginning of eternity. CS Lewis said it best when he told us that we aren’t a body with a soul, but a soul in a body. I’d heard that, read it, seen it and believed it, but I’d never fully understood it. Not with the capacity I do now.
So out of the experience, those are the greatest lessons and gems of wisdom I gained that others might already have without such an experience, or grasp through mine.
Loving and being loved is life at its best, and when we depart this life, we are not leaving home. We are going home.
I’ll hold these lessons close and remember them always.
c2008, Vicki Hinze