Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Tomorrow is my birthday. (80 at 9:45 a.m. EDT) Just send prayers! I excerpted (stole) the following from Matthew Kelly’s new book, Life is Messy. I am giving you the book for Christmas, but apropos of age, it’s an interesting approach Annie found.

Three Appointments
We are all required to keep three appointments: with self, with God, and the inevitable appointment with death. We may avoid, delay, resist, ignore, and otherwise pretend that these appointments are not on our schedule. It matters not. Life brings about these appointments whether we think we are ready or not.

The first appointment with self. It’s amazing how we avoid ourselves. Avoidance of self contributes much to our collective sense that something is missing, and that we are living someone else’s life.

Long ago, I learned to keep a daily appointment with self. Unless I check in with myself each day, I will eventually betray myself in small ways and large. But when I keep this appointment, I emerge with a clear and firm sense of self. This sense of self - knowing who we are and what we are here for - is more precious than gold.

The quality of all our relationships is determined by the quality of our relationship with ourselves. This is why the first appointment is critical. When we avoid this appointment, we limit all our relationships.

The second appointment is with God. We avoid God, run from him, thinking that we want something other than what he wants to give us. But in running from God, we run from ourselves. Alienation from God is alienation from self. Only in union with God do we discover and become our truest self.

When we discover how messy and difficult life is, we hear an urgent call to remake and rebuild the inner life. What was once an invitation quickly turns into a summons. Not the summons of a tyrannical God that demands we pay attention, but rather, the summons of our own soul to pay attention before it wilts and dies.

Turn to God each day for some period. Who else will lead you to green pastures and peaceful waters? Who else will make your cup overflow? Who else will restore your soul? I don’t know about you, but I need that. My soul needs to be restored.

The third appointment is with death. It is the inescapable truth. It is a non-negotiable assignment. Jack Nicholson is walking through a bar when he recognizes someone he knows. He doesn’t stop, but he slows down. “How are you?” he asks. The guy begins to complain about something and Jack cuts him off. “We’re all dying. Act accordingly.” Is it blunt? Yes. Is it true? Yes. We are all dying, but we don’t act accordingly.

“Every man dies, but not every man really lives,” was William Wallace’s observation. Nobody fears death more than those who have not lived. Nobody fears death more than those who have not discovered who they are and offered that gift to the world. Death is inevitable, but a well-lived life is not.

When you come to the end of your life, when death is undeniably near, what will bring you unmitigated joy? Thinking about death is morbid some may say. I disagree. Far from being unhealthy, it is a valuable and meaningful exercise. Thinking too much about death can be morbid, but how much is too much? I suggest that you think about death only as much as is necessary to live life to the fullest.

When we are young it feels like we have all the time in the world. But we don’t. Sooner than we expect, we begin to slow down. We can’t do the things we used to be able to do. All the time our bodies are breaking down, though we often don’t acknowledge it until we get sick or are dying. How will you feel when you are dying? What will you think? It is an appointment we all must keep. Don’t arrive unprepared.

If you found out today that you were dying, what would be your regrets? What do those regrets tell you about how you are living your life? What changes do those regrets invite you to make?

The wisest people of every age have pondered death and eternity, not as an exercise in morbidity, but in order to live life to the fullest.

Death and the knowledge of its inevitability serve an important purpose in our lives. Imagine how carelessly and recklessly people would live if they knew they would live forever in this world. (Italics mine – JFF)

If living a meaningful life depends on filling our lives with meaningful activity, these three appointments should figure regularly on our schedule. These three appointments help us to weed out the meaningless from the meaningful. They help us prioritize what matters most and give us the courage to say no to what matters least. They build within us a true sense of self, and few things are more important. These three appointments, in short, keep us alert and aware of our blessings, help us to become more perfectly ourselves, and to live life to the fullest.

May Jesus bless all your ages and aging,
sign frjim

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