Live Like You Were Dying

It struck me this morning during John’s sermon that we’re starting this “live like you were dying” sermon series right at the same time that my cousin Jimmy actually is dying. He’s had cancer and lived almost two years longer than the doctors thought possible. Now, he is in hospice care and he knows he’s dying. He hasn’t eaten in over a month, and when I visit him he looks visibly thinner by the time I leave some hours later. Yet- he is still talking and laughing and praying and caring. He is blessed with the most amazing spirit of paying attention and caring about other people.

When a new nursing assistant comes into his room he always asks their name, and he remembers them. He thanks all of his caregivers by name. When I think of the people who I see every day – store clerks, postal employees, cashiers at Panera, I know only a few of their names. Yet the ones I do know appreciate that I stop and use their name when I thank them. It is an easy thing to do when they wear name tags, it only take a few seconds, and yet it reminds them that I appreciate them as a person.

This isn’t a gift of mine like it is for Jimmy, but it is something simple that I’m going to keep practicing. And maybe, many years from now when it is my turn to prepare to leave this earth I’ll have the sounds mind to thank each and every one of my caregivers by name.


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