Tuesday, December 29, 2009
First of all, relationships matter more than anything else. Period. I've never encountered a person close to the end of life, of any age that said, "I wish I had worked more." Or, "I wish I'd bought more stuff." No. It's about relationships. Dying is something no one else can do for you, but it helps to have some companionship along the way. Are there people in your life that would be by your side if you were dying? If so, consider yourself blessed and hold them close to your heart. If not, then its time to take a look around and invest the time in relationships that really matter.
Secondly, take the time to listen. As a chaplain, I have found that the best gift I can offer a patient or a caregiver is giving them my time and my listening ear. Have you ever stopped to consider how rarely we really listen to others? Usually, we are coming up with our own response or multitasking in our heads. It really takes some energy to listen to another human being, to make eye contact, to process what they are saying without an agenda. There is nothing more refreshing to the soul than leaving a conversation knowing that you have been heard and understood by another human being who thought that what you had to way was worthwhile. Offer someone that gift this year.
Finally, consider your own death. What do you want to be remembered for? Are you making a difference in the world? Perhaps it's time to reprioritize how and where you spend your time and your money. How can you use your gifts and talents, your creativity, to make someone else's life better? Now is the time to change your direction and your perspective. Don't be someone who finds themselves facing the end of life with regrets. Live and live well.