Folksinger, songwriter, David Wilcox says about writing a song, “The trick is recognizing truth amidst all the cleverness. The more time I took, the more my deep heart could speak to me through the process of songwriting.” In his song, We Make the Way by Walking he writes, “The way that a pilgrim travels is to set out for parts unknown. If history is kind, we’re the ones who may find the way we all come home.”
What would it look like if you could approach dying with curiosity and love, in service of other beings? What if dying were the ultimate spiritual practice? In the words of Ram Das, “Death is an incredible opportunity to awaken.”
I want to decide how I die. I want to take what time I have to hear my heart speak. I cannot avoid death, but I can, as it approaches, embrace it. I can befriend it and learn from it. What an adventure. I have decided to terminate chemo. My last days will not be spent suffering from its side effects. I know this puts me at greater risk. The cancer could again find its way into my brain. My last CT scan showed the mass in my lungs is twice as big as it was last summer and is setting up housekeeping in my adrenal. I surrender. But no matter what happens, I will never return to the hospital. Quoting Atul Gawande, “Medical professionals concentrate on repair of health, not sustenance of the soul. Yet—and this is the painful paradox—we have decided that they should be the ones who largely define how we live in our waning days.”
Today I choose to surrender to my Soul. I am God’s Beloved. I accept God’s call, “You are mine and I am yours. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. You belong to me. Wherever you are, I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.” (excerpted from Henri Nowen’s Life of the Beloved)
Walk with me.