DEATH'S on my mind quite frequently these days.
Met a colleague in the library last week. "Did you go to a certain organic farm some time ago? I've got some photos for you," he said. It turned out that his sister, whom i got to know through the farm trip, has died recently of cancer. So did her husband one and a half years ago. So did a professional friend of mine and his wife over the last year or so.
And over the past month or so, the demise of Pope JPII and subsequently ex-president Wee filled local TV news. Nouwen's writings for these few days are all about dying with grace and leaving the world a better place. The book by Kathleen Norris, which J. lent me last Saturday, spoke of the Benedictine way of sanctifying time and remembering death.
"WHAT WOULD I want to do just before i pass away from this world into our Father's arms?" This thought has been on my mind for some time. Am i wasting precious time doing things that i might regret later?
Did a Google search and found a Web page entitled 100 things to do before you die.
Let's see. Things that i've done on the list (and are meaningful enough to me) include:
- Accept myself for who i am.
- Buy my own (home) and then spend time making it into (not) exactly what i want.
- Create my own web site.
- Find a job i love.
- Get passionate about a cause and spend time helping it, instead of just thinking about it.
- Get to know my neighbors.
- Give to a charity -- anonymously.
- Grow a (mini) garden.
- Learn how to complain effectively -- and do it!
- Learn how to take a compliment.
- Learn to ballroom dance properly.
- Learn to play a musical instrument with some degree of skill.
- Learn to rollerblade.
- Learn to speak a foreign language.
- Learn to use a microphone and give a speech in public.
- Make a complete and utter fool of myself. :-p ;-)
- Overcome my fear of failure (hmm... not always, perhaps).
- Own room with a (fantastic) view (of sunrise).
- Reflect on my greatest weakness, and realize how it is my greatest strength.
- Shower in a (small) waterfall (and gazed with wonder at the fantastic Niagara Falls from various angles).
- Sing (many) great songs (not alone though) in front of an audience.
- Spend a whole day reading (many) great novel(s).
- Spend New Year's Day in an exotic location.
- Spend (more than) three months getting my body into optimum shape.
- Take a ride on the highest roller coaster in the country.
- Teach someone (almost) illiterate to read.
- Tell someone the story of my life, sparing (almost) no details.
- Write a fan letter to my all-time favorite hero (JPII!) or heroine.
- Write down my personal mission statement, follow it, and revise it from time to time.
- Write my will (soon).
And the things that i would want to do one day (especially those marked *) include:
- Attend at least one major sporting event: the Olympics.
- (Complete a PhD program in educational design and technology.)*
- Go up in a hot-air balloon.
- Have my portrait painted.
- Scuba dive off Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
- Sleep under the stars.
- (Take the four-week TEFL course in China or Italy.)
- (Live in Rome for a while and travel around Assisi and Florence in Italy.)*
- Visit the Holy Land.*
- (Visit JMT's Little Portion Hermitage.)*
- Write the novel i know i have inside me.*
Now, there's got to be more! What would that be?