The apostle Paul encouraged us not to be anxious about anything. Unfortunately, too few people take his admonition seriously or take the time to learn the skill mastery to defeat this common enemy.
Recently I had a stimulating and enlightening conversation with my oncology nurse, Laurie. Prior to her new job, Laurie worked ten years in a hospice where she helped people get through the final two weeks of their lives.
Nurse Laurie is one of those special caregivers. I know her cell phone number by heart. Kindness, compassion, gentleness, and professional excellence exude from her life. Saint Laurie brings healing to me.
Candidly I marvel at one’s ability to work for ten years where people die every day. To my surprise nurse, Laurie said it was some of the best and most filling days of her life.
Of course, I asked, “why and how is this possible?”
Her response was that; you see the real person. Some beautiful, beautiful things take place during their final days when their mask is taken off.
This conversation prompted me to ask nurse Laurie, “Please tell me three things that are difference makers in dying well during the last two weeks of your life?”
Without hesitation, these were the three things she listed that people do who die well!
1. Eliminate all resentment and bitterness.
In the final days, as the body shuts down, people relive their lives. People who are bitter end their days on earth, reliving their bitterness. It is not a pretty sight. Those who have lived forgiveness experience joy and peace.
2. Be comfortable because dying takes lots of energy.
To live takes energy. Do what you must do to be comfortable.
At this point, I asked Laurie, “How much difference does no faith and complete faith in Jesus make. Laurie said, “All the difference in the world.”
Anxiety, whether it thrives in the prime of life or the last two weeks, it is a robber, a thief, a destroyer of peace, joy, happiness, and destructive to relationships.
Maladies like anorexia, attention deficit disorder, bipolar, Alzheimer’s, and others are relatively new diseases from a historical perspective. In contrast, anxiety has been with us since sin entered the world in the garden.
Anxiety is in every school, home, and business. Anxiety is as common as the cold. So expected, the Bible has much to teach us about it.
Terminal Anxiety has earned its medical name. It is real. For sure, I don’t plan to die during the next two weeks, but I assure you I plan to live fully without anxiety and resentment.
Take this opportunity to evaluate your life. How are you doing on the three ways to live well? If we live well, we will end well.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
Nurse Lauri’s perspective on ten years of caring for patients in the last two weeks of their lives was an education in my favorite game I call LIFEBALL.