Last month I had blood drawn to determine the cause of some recent persistent health issues. During the 10-day wait for results (I’m happy to say they came back negative), I faced a tiny possibility that I could have a rare cancer, one with a fatal prognosis of six months. Of course, I aggravated my mental state by looking it up on the Internet and realizing that I had additional symptoms, consistent with the disease, that I didn’t mention to the doctor.
This is not a post about jumping to conclusions. I knew the chance of me having such an illness was infinitesimal.
Still, it got me thinking: What if I only had six months to live?
My instant response was “quit my job and travel.” But quickly, I saw this as unrealistic. I would need the medical insurance my job provides and I would have bills that needed to be paid. Plus, I probably wouldn’t possess the health and stamina long enough to travel to exotic locations with such a fast-progressing cancer.
Death isn’t the end
I’m fortunate in that I no longer fear what will happen when my physical shell ceases to exist. I see death as a transition, and those who’ve heard me speak or read my book, A Reluctant Spirit, know that I see the afterlife as one abounding in unconditional love.
What would I do if death was near?
I’m grateful for the journey the Great I Am has led me on. I’ve traveled to many countries, met amazing people, worked interesting jobs and encountered unusual paranormal activity that opened my mind and heart. Yes, I faced overwhelming physical, mental and emotional challenges, especially during the 18 years I suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and post-viral neurasthenia. And, like everyone else, I’ve lost loved ones and had others I thought were good friends prove they weren’t. But I also recognize that the person I am today is the result of both the great and devastating times in my life. For that, I’m supremely thankful.
Savor time with family and friends
I would spend more time with Ken, my family and friends. I’d better relish the laughter. The embraces. And, even the silly faces my father and nephew make. I’d study the wonder on my great niece’s seven-month-old face. I’d scoop the neighbor’s puppy into my arms, petting its luxurious fur and enjoying its excitement. I’d let them all know they’ve made my life worth living.
Immerse myself in God’s creation
I’ve always found peace and emotional healing in nature. The warmth of the sun showering my face on a chilled winter’s day. The visual delight of Nevada’s startling lapis skies contrasting snow-draped summits. The joy of watching wild horses gallop across the sagebrush steppe. The welcoming songs of finches, sparrows and jays as they fly to a nearby tree when they see me bring the seed.
Tap into my sense of touch
I imagine that spirits must miss the physicality of life, especially the ability to touch the way we do. So, I’d concentrate on what it feels like to hold someone’s hand or to embrace them in a full-on bear hug. To discern differing textures from the softness of towels fresh out of the dryer to the crunch of an apple as I bite into it.
These are my resolutions for 2016. I don’t need a death sentence to fully experience what life has to offer.
What would you do if you had limited time in our realm?