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When plane passengers experience strong wind turbulence, they do what comes naturally. Some pray, some panic. Some grab barf bags. I grab my laptop and start typing my will.
At least, that’s what I did on a flight a few years ago. I figured if anything went wrong and if my computer was salvaged from the wreckage, my family would hopefully find my journal and know my dying wishes.
Is that morbid? Maybe. But I have always wondered why we don’t talk about this particular “what if” more often. It’s as if we’re afraid if we do, something will happen. We’ll jinx ourselves into dying an untimely death by imagining the possibility out loud.
This is a shame. When there are so many regrets among the living, so many things left unsaid, so many moments of opportunity buried in graves —why are we afraid to talk about death with the people we love? Do we just assume we’ll have time to say what needs to be said before we take our last breath?
Maybe it’s just plain awkward. I never showed my family what I’d written in flight that day. It’s tucked away in my journal somewhere. I’m sure they’ll find it if need be. But if not, here’s a sampling of the things I want people to know when I’m finally gone:
Bury me in a cardboard box or drop me in the ground just as I am. That shell of a body was never who I really was anyway. Besides, I’m getting a new body, and it’s going to be pretty hot.*
Don’t mourn too long. Move on so I can cheer you on from heaven. I’ll be more alive and fulfilled than I have ever been.
And one more thing —see “To my girls.”
To my husband:
Hug the girls. Hug each one of them everyday, so they will know what to look for in a man. And so they won’t go looking too soon or in the wrong places. Grab time with them when they're home sitting around. Get them off their phones and catch up with them about life.
Keep loving God well, especially in front of the girls. Let them see you praying and reading the Scriptures. Invite them into that space with you.
To my girls:
Follow God (Jesus) closely. Know Him well. Then you will become all you were meant to be. I know my directive to you is the shortest one, but it packs the biggest punch.
To our church:
Don’t be a Sunday-only church. Be weekday Christians.
Spend time with God daily.
Visit the lonely.
Care for the poor.
Be kind to everyone, even those scary people who waive a different flag than you. Get to know them. Find out all the things there are to like about them before even dreaming of "sharing your faith" with them. Love people "the Jesus way" (without condition).
Don't confuse the Kingdom of God with the kingdom of America, lest you enter into idolatry. Love your country well; love God and people even more. Much more.
That’s about it. What about you? What are your “living wishes”? What would you want people to know after you’re gone?
* I Corinthians 15:42, Philippians 3:21