Ready for Life!

Ready for Life!

By Sister Mary Jane Wallace, OSB

I recently had some health issues that wiped me out for a while. They were pretty serious.

The doctor put it in perspective when he said, “Sister, you need to think about the end. Do you want to be resuscitated?” 

I was surprised. I didn’t think my final days were now!

Death is going to come for us all, and it’s not always down the road. It can happen any time.

Lately, I’ve been using this simple 5-step prayer to help me be ready, but not for death so much as life! Because by living fully, we prepare to accept death.

I’m sharing the prayer with you because – no matter what your age or circumstances – it might help you, too.

Live slowly.

The idea of living slowly really captures my heart. It runs counter to our culture, but it’s necessary to slow down to really see, and experience, all that is around us.

We take time to meditate on and interact with God’s creation when we stop to listen to one another, listen to a bird sing, gaze at a chipmunk gathering winter seeds.

To live slowly – as opposed to move slowly – is to give ourselves the opportunity for gratitude for the world and our place in it.

Move simply. 

At my age, I have to move simply. No more running!

But this is about more than physical movement. I see it as inviting more simple intentionality into our lives.

For me it means trying not to live in the future, but today.

It means moving through each hour enjoying the simple things: a warm smile, a bit of sunlight, a card from a former student.

Look softly.

I love this phrase!

To me it means we must look more gently upon self and others.

We must offer gestures of comfort.

We must smile more kindly and with more welcome. 

Allow emptiness.

I’ve spent my life acquiring things, and I bet you have too.

Now I’m giving things away. I’ve moved from the “more” phase into the “less” phase. Because we really can’t take it with us!

But for me, the need for emptiness also implies a readiness for something new. Grace.

I’ve found I can say to God, “You are enough.” That things and stuff don’t matter.

Let the heart create for us. 

As we recommit to living life fully, we open our hearts to what matters. And our hearts tell us what we need to grow into peace.

I have loved my life so much. If I could speak on my deathbed, what would I say? If it were today, I would say, Thank you, and I love you.

What would you say?

Comments (8)

  1. Sue:
    Jan 18, 2018 at 11:51 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing the 5 Step Prayer. I find it very meaningful and will be adding it to my prayer journal! Meanwhile, please know that you are in my prayers. I need to ponder on what I would say on my deathbed, but I know what my grandmother smilingly said on hers: “Do you see them coming?”

  2. Carol Hogan:
    Jan 18, 2018 at 12:12 PM

    Dr told my husband to think of end of life care. Broke my heart at the time. That was 2 yrs ago. But in that 2 yrs we have looked at our life and after life more closely. We take care of the day we are in and the future is less threatening. God is guiding our life with more clarity now.

  3. Bernie Ryan:
    Jan 18, 2018 at 02:02 PM

    Sr Mary Jane, just a quick note to thank you for sharing your 5-step prayer. Hope you’re on the road to feeling lots better!

  4. Char Wiest Teigland:
    Jan 18, 2018 at 06:02 PM

    Thank you, Sister, for sharing your thoughts and this prayer. I pray you enjoy every step.

  5. Paula Lenz:
    Jan 19, 2018 at 04:05 PM

    Sr. Janie. I saw Aunt Theresa and was so glad to be able to talk about taking one day at a time, being happy, and keeping TOXIC people and situations from our lives. Thanks for sharing your story. Love, Paula

  6. Helen Wyffels:
    Jan 19, 2018 at 06:37 PM

    Mary Jane, my sister in law sent this to me. Hope you are much better by now. There is too much Spirit and Life in your mind and body to be thinking of death. Enjoy today and a new day will follow if that is His wish . If not you will smile and gloriously run to His arms. Love always Helen

  7. Denise:
    Jan 21, 2018 at 10:01 AM

    Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom. I appreciate the idea of slowing down and doing these it helps me to focus on what is important. Love you!

  8. Betty:
    Jan 26, 2018 at 11:43 PM

    Thank you for sharing this, it truly melted my heart. I will so say that too!

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