In April Walter Bruening, the world’s oldest man, died at the age of 114. Having seen an entire century unfold he had a lot of wise advice to share. His last piece of advice is the hardest to swallow but the greatest in importance.
“We’re all going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you’re born to die.”
I am not even half of Walter’s age but this is a lesson I learned early. At the age of 17 I had a cardiac arrest. Since that time I have had a dozen surgeries, been electrically paddled on multiple occasions and had 3 pacemakers. My heart is electrically challenged! This makes life very unpredictable. When my heart is behaving I am normal, when it’s not, it is life threatening.
The one thing that I have learned about life and death is this:
In moments when I have been privileged to peer over the edge of life, never once did I think about the things I had done. My every fleeting thought was fixated on God and the people I loved. I can promise you that you can do things without loving a soul, but in the end it will mean nothing to you or to God.
One of these days I’m going to die…and you’re going to die too…and when you do, your family is going to take your body out to the cemetery, lower it into the ground and throw dirt in your face. Then, they are going to go back home, eat potato salad and talk about your life. When they do, what will they talk about? Will they talk about your title or your testimony? Will they talk about your title – doctor, attorney, manager, businesswoman? Or your testimony of how you loved your children, your co-workers, your neighbors? Will they talk about your title as PTA President, club tennis champion or golfer? Or, your testimony of how you loved the needy in your community? Will they talk about what you did or how you loved them as you did it?
You will die. Do not be afraid! But each and every day remember that this is a day you may not have tomorrow.