This is a message that I plan to leave behind for my loved ones… and so… for everyone.
Yesterday, April 6th, I celebrated a milestone birthday – but, really, every birthday has been a kind of milestone for me since I was 13. For, when I was diagnosed with my motor neuron disease at the age of two, the doctors told my parents that I wouldn’t live to be a teenager. Thankfully, I have been given the gift of triple that prediction. With the fragility of my health, I am ever mindful that each birthday I celebrate may be my last – and I love life with all that I am. So, the words that follow are not mere words for me.
When I die – as all of us creatures must – I believe it will be according to God’s Perfect Will. If I am killed – because of murder, or because of injuries sustained in an accident, either negligent or willful – or if I die through neglect or the malpractice of mistake, then my death will be by God’s Permissive Will. God will permit the consequence that is my dying even though it will not be at the Divinely appointed time or in the Divinely appointed manner – but I believe that God will grant me, if I am one who truly loves, special grace so that I may spiritually experience the blessings that were divinely intended for me should I have lived out the fullness of my God-given lifespan.
And when I die, I want all of the people that I have loved to understand that in God there is only loving mercy. No matter the time, cause, or manner of my death, God’s love pours forth enough forgiveness to heal every wound, to right every wrong, to mend every broken heart, to save everyone in need of rescue. God’s love prevails. Eternally. And, so, joy does not end. If those who have loved me are unwilling to accept this truth, then, perhaps, they never truly loved me. When the time for heartbreak, anger, sorrow, mourning, and grieving is fulfilled, then those who have truly loved me will continue to love me without end. They will continue to love me without end by turning to God for Divine mercy and healing and by accepting the forgiveness that God’s love offers to everyone who seeks truth. The truth? The truth is that I have always belonged to God and I always will.
We creatures live and breathe upon the earth for only a short while; like the daffodils in the springtime, the blueberries of summer, all the autumn foliage, winter snowflakes, and animal life of soil, forest, field, water and air. We bloom in our season and then are seen no more by eyes that can weep, eyes that can close. The earth is ever full of beauty to behold, of tenderness and delight, and for as long as our earthly bodies draw in breath, let us breathe in the rich fragrance of life, never jealous of what God has created – never holding on too tightly or wresting too vehemently in the self-centered wish to possess. Everything belongs to God and that is the true glory of every thing, every place, every moment, every person. Nothing exists without God. With God is every experience of joy, of love, of beauty, of goodness, of life. And the suffering that we experience as we live and breathe upon the earth are reminders that we are not our own, that we are not God, and that we do not create the beauty that we behold.
The sufferings of life are reminders that can return our minds and hearts to the Source of Being and, so, to know the peace that the world cannot give, the peace that is the fullness of joy. If we do not let our sorrows, pains, losses, frustrations, angers, afflictions and conflictions serve us as reminders, then we stray into the abyss.
The abyss is of the fallen, of those who turn away from God’s mercy and healing, of those who turn away from the truth. It is the destruction chosen by warlords and the perverse abuse that is the domain of the selfishly wicked: the terror and trauma inflicted by those who will not accept the truth. Those who will not love the beauty of Creation as God’s creation, those who will not love human beings as images and likenesses of God, those who will not love themselves as sacred creatures belong eternally to God – these will choose to turn away from truth, to reject holiness, to deny Divinity and so will close themselves off from the Divine love, mercy, and healing that can only be received by those who are open to reception. They will fall to deception and will not be able to recognize true beauty and delight in true life.
I pray my loved ones will not fall to such deception when, after mourning my death, the time comes to heal. Everything is in Divine hands. God is all in all. If there is any joy in life, if there was ever any beauty in my being upon the earth – then it is the joy and the being of the Beautiful One who made me… and Who holds me, with the tenderest loving embrace, eternally. I am where I belong.
God loved me into existence. And God has already saved my life. When I die, see and recognize the grace among the living… Turn to the Infinite/Eternal One from whom all life comes, to whom all love returns, and know peace, forgiveness, healing, strength, joy. Life is beautiful… because the Beautiful One lives.
Although crippled by disease, I am fully alive in love. I write about the profound wonder and terrible beauty of life while living with physical disability and severe dependency. Unafraid to ask life's big questions, I was briefly an atheist and considered other religions before finding, in God's choice to intimately share our humanity, what it truly means to be fully human. A revert to the Catholic Faith, I blog weekly and have written a book called It's Good to Be Here.