What Dying Taught Me About Living

What Dying Taught Me About Living

Dying reveals your true self.  When you are dying, you want more than anything to let those around you know how much you love them.  Your greatest fear is that you will leave this world, leaving those you love questioning, for the rest of their lives, how much you loved them.  You find that words are clumsy and inadequate.  You are overwhelmed with memories and emotions of having loved those you love.  Your deepest yearning is to convey love.  You are overcome by an instinct to show and express love.  It eclipses everything else.  Trust me.  Nothing else matters.  Dying reveals who and what you truly are—that you were built to love.

Being a healer matters so much more than being a heeder.

Dying teaches us how to live.  Jesus, more than any other mortal, understood this.  The one who was born to die, and who knew his expiration date, tried so very hard to teach us this.  For him, relationships mattered more than rites:

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

(Matthew 5:23-24.)

All the temple attendance in the world won’t heal a broken relationship.  The counsel to leave your gift before offering it at the temple altar suggests that the rituals, themselves, lack power to heal broken relationships.  Piousness is not some magical talisman.  And, by all means, participation in the rituals is not synonymous with righteousness.  Relationships matter so much more than rituals.  Relationships also matter more than rules.  That’s why Jesus healed on the Sabbath.  (See Matthew 12:10-14.)  Being a healer matters so much more than being a heeder.  How could we have missed this!

Jesus invites us into a prioritized life, not a pious life.

Having faith centered in Jesus Christ means that we accept his priorities and have the courage to live them.  It is so much more than having faith in Christ.  It is so much more than merely believing him.  It is having the faith of Christ—the faith to join in his atonement and be “crucified with Christ” so that “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  (Galatians 2:20.)  Notice the prepositional distinction—not “in” but “of.”  This invites you to participate with him—to follow him (Matthew 4:19)—in a life devoted to the same priorities.  Those priorities are always grounded in love, healing and reconciliation.

The knowledge that death is looming has a way of prioritizing things.

Death invites us into a prioritized life, not a pious life.

Jesus invites us into a prioritized life, not a pious life.

If God is love (1 John 4:8), and if we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), then we were built to love.  This is what I realized when I realized that I was dying.  Now that I continue to be among the living, loving is my priority.

Don’t let a day go by without letting those you love know that you love them.  Live your life in a manner that leaves no doubt about who or what your priorities are.  Death can come at any time.  (Luke 12:20.)  Life and love are lived moment to moment.

8 thoughts on “What Dying Taught Me About Living

  1. How are you? I hope youre enjoying the summer weather. Thank you for another wonderful read… I am always empowered by your articles. wishing you a great day.

    1. Akiko, it is so good to hear from you. Thank you for your very kind words. Our summer is winding down. It has been extremely hot but the days are getting shorter and the nights a little cooler. I hope you took some time off of work this summer and enjoyed a vacation! Don’t work too hard. I am so glad to hear from you. It made my day great!!!

      1. Thank you Dan, for your kind words. Here in Tokyo we’ll have to endure a few more weeks of heat but likewise, the nights are getting a little cooler. I do love cool summer nights. And, you made me realize I haven’t taken a proper vacation yet this year! Thank you. hehe. Dear Dan, please continue your writing as you are doing now! Reading your blog encourage me to actually act with love during the day, when otherwise I might have left my good intentions at home with my bible. Its so easy to let work and other worries occupy my mind, but your article helps me remember the more important things. So Thank you!

  2. Dan, I hope your present health is good and that this most recent post of yours, is based on your past (feeding tube years) health status, not the present, although, thinking of it in the broadest sense, I know we’re all dying.

    You have a wonderful talent for making people think beyond the conventional and orthodox and like a true, life guru, inviting them to a higher plain of thought and awareness. I have no doubt that much of the wisdom you impart, can be found elsewhere but there is a significant portion of your writings that I’m convinced is uniquely yours or at least uniquely channeled by you. Anyway, I’ve read enough of your posts and book material to be able to tell you I’m a big fan.

    And since this recent post of yours is in part about focusing on the things that matter most and about communicating honestly from the heart, before it’s too late, I’ll go one further;

    This might sound a bit over the top and maybe turn off or upset the cart for some, but for ME, your writings have been just as powerful and at times even more insightful/deeper and influential than that of most apostles or prophets that I can remember, in or outside the Church. And I’ve heard and read a lot from many of them over the last few decades of my life. This is not to take anything away from them or to feed your ego or embarrass you but simply a reflection of my own personal reality.

  3. Rui, you must have received that $100 bill I mailed you to say nice things about me on my website. I don’t think I do anything great but I DO think you just connect with some people and we obviously connect, are cut from the same cloth, etc. Great to hear from you, as always. Blessings and love to you!!! I hope you are finding peace and happiness in your life.

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