The Englishman John Donne was one of the great Metaphysical poets of the 17th century. His most famous sonnet “Death Be Not Proud” is part of a sequence of poems called “The Holy Sonnets.”
The poet personifies death and says you are not as tough as you think you are. Continue reading
C. R. Nichol was one of the great preachers, teachers and religious writers of the late 19th and early 20th century. He was known, not only for his scholarly work, but for his wisdom and quick wit.
One morning, while taking a walk, a friend cheerily greeted him, “Good morning, Bro. Nichol, I see that you’re still in the land of the living.”
Without missing a beat, he quickly quipped as he walk on, “No. I’m in the land of the dying. But I hope one day to go to the land of the living.” Continue reading
Filed under Death, Eulogy
Last week Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, signed into law The End of Life Option Act, which allows physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients.
California now joins Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont where assisted suicide is now legal. In order to qualify, patients must be legal adults, be judged to be mentally competent and be expected to die of a terminal illness within six months, which is impossible for anyone to know of a certainty, even a doctor. Continue reading
Her name was Mary Catherine Threlkel. She was my cousin. But we all knew her by “Wimpy,” the nickname given in infancy by her father because she was a fussy baby!
She died on April 8, 2015, at age 70. Last Saturday, I joined family, friends and fellow Christians in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, to honor Wimpy’‘s memory, mourn her passing, but to celebrate her life.
For over 40 years I have participated in speaking at funeral services for people of all ages and who were taken from this life in many different ways. Natural causes. Accidents. Disease. And tragic events. To stand in the specter of death is always a solemn experience. But when it’s a loved one, death suddenly becomes more personal. Painful. And thought-provoking. Continue reading
Filed under Death, Eulogy
One morning in April of 1888 Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, woke up to read his own obituary.
His brother, Ludvig, had died. But a newspaper reporter mistakenly thought it was Alfred and carelessly reported the death of the wrong brother! Anyone would be disturbed under those circumstances to read their own obituary. However, the headline was even more disconcerting to Nobel. It read: Continue reading
Seven years ago today, September 18, 2007, Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, stood before 400 colleagues and students to deliver his final lecture entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.”
It was Randy’s last lecture as a professor because he was terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. On that day he was youthful, upbeat and vigorous. While he refused to wallow in self-pity, he spoke of how the cancer would eventually claim his life. Ten months later it did. Continue reading
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I’ve said it before. I hate death. I hate the sorrow it brings. I hate the emptiness it leaves. I hate the relationships it ruptures. I hate the burden it bears.
And Death ever lurks. Looking over our shoulder. Sneering. Leering. Waiting to strike. Leaving its hurt. And about the time we’ve had some healing, death invades our homes and hearts again.
It seems to be happening all too often lately. Last Sunday I received one of the calls. I knew by the voice. The tone. The words that said, “Have you heard…..” This time is was my friend Ted Brewer. Continue reading