Several weeks ago I walk to the front of the church before the altar and had my priest make a cross of ashes on my forehead and remind me that I am mortal. From ashes, I came and from ashes, I will return.
It is one thing to be reminded of your mortality through a ritual of grace and quite another to reminded by the words of your doctor that if you do not go to the hospital now, you will die. When facing the possibly imminent demise of your mortal body, the reality of death has the power to call you to think about the journey of life you have traveled. It also can remind you of how far you have to go.
Death is no longer my enemy to be feared. Death no longer can force me into denial. I have an assurance, a confidence that comes from God who loves me no matter how much I have been the prodigal in my life.
I am slowing moving toward the state of being an old fool and that is what I most hope to obtain. I am still struggling to fight against attacks from my past. I still must catch myself and repent of thought and work to replace them with acts of penance and love. I still am letting go of things however I am enjoying more and more the true happiness of contemplation and the sweet consolations of the whispers of acceptance God sends my way.
Tomorrow, I will likely leave the hospital. My brush with pneumonia and sepsis is passing and I am again able to breathe without struggle or pain. I am thankful to my doctor and the wonderful hospital staff who helped my body fight this fight. I am thankful to my priest who came, anointed and prayed. I am also reluctantly thankful to Brother sickness for giving me the time to allow silence and rest give me an opportunity to contemplate on what is important. Amen