Ending Well

Over the past two weeks I've had the privilege of observing people who were approaching, or reaching the end of their earthly lives and who were doing it in beautiful, yet different ways.  I remember hearing the story of a young man on his death bed talking with his father and saying, "Dad, you taught me how to live, but you didn't teach me how to die."  I think that we all must learn how to "end well".  Let me tell you the stories of three who understood that.
The last time I visited Dave in the hospital, he was making plans for what he was going to do when he got home.  He volunteered for an organization that helped the blind.  They had just shipped him some new hardware, and he could hardly wait to start putting it to use.  He never got the opportunity.  Within a couple of days of getting home from the hospital, he was tranferred to hospice, and then to heaven.  Dave kind of remiinds me of Moses.  It seemed that Moses was busy right up to the end.  So was Dave.  He loved Jesus.  He loved his church.  He loved his family, and he kept on keeping on.
One of the elderly gentlemen in my church stopped me a couple of weeks ago and said, "I'd like to come by your office and talk to you about my memorial service."  Sure enough, he made an appointment and came by.  He had a manila envelop containing his wishes for the service including what music, scripture and comments he would like to have included.  I guess to make sure that I didn't forget anything, he told me that he had made copies for his children so that everyone would be on the same page.  I don't remember anyone ever making such detailed plans for their demise.  I appreciate that he has given thought to his final message to friends and family, and I'll be honored to be part of it.
This week I visited one of if not the oldest members of our church.  Milton has been a "shut-in" for as long as I have known him.  He is 98 years young.  Everytime I have visited Milton, either in the hospital or at his home, the theme is always the same.  He tells me that he is the most blessed man who ever lived.  He reiterates the story of one of his hospital stays when he asked the Lord for opportunities to witness, and person after person came into his room and he told them about Jesus.  Milton has grown tired.  His daughter told me that he is praying daily for the Lord to take him on home.  His wife was graduated to heaven about a year ago, and he longs to join her there.  Most of all, he wants to see Jesus.
All three of these, in different ways,. demonstrated to me how to end well.  I'm giving more thought these days to just how to live with my life in such a way that nothing will be left to chance. I want to end well.


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