I want to talk about something very personal to me. My ministry. The goals and aspirations and issues I am determined to take on during my time here. More so than words, stories, poetry, farm animals, forest time, hard labor, I am here to pastor. Like my father. Just without the collar. And I want to be called on way before you’re dead. Laid up in the hospital, so little by way of breath. I need you to know I am here for you right now.
I am afraid to die. This fact in no way means I run away from thoughts of my own demise. I converse with fear, and fear introduced me to start having words with death. I found that throughout developing that particularly morbid form of vocabulary, I have experienced massive improvements to my health. Both inside and out. And I can teach you to do it too.
You’re terminal. Best shape of your life. Still terminal. Happy day, birthday, first day, worst day. A period will chase the end of every sentence. And despite all your best efforts, you will give back to the ground everything you ever once took from it. To the exact measurement. Pound for pound. Best case scenario ends in a burial. Swallow that pill today because it will still be true tomorrow. No reason to wait for a doctor’s note, just know you are only made of temporary circuitry, hosted by eternal energy. And the day will come that breaks you.
Remember click knees, and wheezing, and watching loved ones leaving, and the gut-wrench realization they will never be back in the same way again. And feeling pain, and seering pain seeing pain grip others, smother mothers and bother fathers who will torture truth into newfangled shapes just so it less resembles the hands of men. Life is good. Just not all good. At some point, a bill comes chasing after all this fine food. There is no word to express thanks. All you can do is pay for it. And the moment you break the doorway through which you’ve pushed and led and forced so many others, you make yourself sinless. Wash your heart like death was a sink, and all your memories dirty dishes.
But if you go into the end with ‘dear lord why, anyone but me’ wishes, you just might receive them. Essentially, you’re sacrificing your first potential interaction with life’s chef just to tell it you like a free dinner the best. The creator of existence and potential. When every single day you’ve been eating things that were previously alive in order not to die. And the first chance you get to deposit back into that account, you scream and shout like you never once saw it coming. With hands together, shut-eyed in prayer over steaming chicken and blood-burdened burgers and vegetable wombs consumed seed-bearing and all. Straight out of soil. Telling the story of how tragic it is that you may have to go back in. Though you would rather send a thousand other martyrs like some kind of mortality barter, it is coming. The end of the sentence of your physical existence. And you can swallow that pill today to make a blessing out of tomorrow.
If you have trouble understanding what it is I’m trying to teach, please ask. I’m here. I’ll be keeping office hours for the next ten years, at least. Click knees. Nightly wheeze. Training soldiers in the war for peace. True to form child of God, and a child of God can not be bought. Though I do feel called to offer you a lease.