Sometimes it takes a person who is dying to teach us how to live.
When my friend told me his situation was extremely critical, my first reaction was to encourage him to be prepared. I asked him to write letters and to make recordings to his loved ones telling them about all the important ideas and experiences in life. Sometimes I offered explicit words I wanted him to relate. They were the words I wanted to hear myself.
We should all say what needs to be said.
I watched my friend use all his available time to make a difference in the world, to be there for every last soul he could reach. He recognized the short time left to have his influence felt.
All of our lives are limited. We should always strive to be our very best self.
I heard his friends express great appreciation when they saw his time was drawing near. They let him know how he had changed them in all the very best ways while they had the chance.
We should all express gratitude for what others do.
I offered my consolation, showing my friend how God had prepared his family to survive him. I said that everything was going to be okay because God works in mysterious ways.
God prepares all of us and works miracles every day.
I listened as my friend relived his life so many times in his head. There were painful moments for which he had to let go. But there also was so much joy in the little things in life that he could see because he was looking so closely.
We should all take time to stop and enjoy the butterflies.
I saw my friend grow calm and accepting of every turn of events. He looked back and said he had made "a good run of it."
We should all be still.
I watched my friend kiss his young daughter on the back of the head. She went on doing what she was doing. But I could see him savor that kiss, even wonder if it would be his last.
We should all relish every expression of love.
My friend used every trick to see the goodness in everything that people said and did, what they offered him as well as the world around them.
We should all seek to see the good in others.
I thought at great lengths about a Savior who had set a supreme example of living for us all. He spoke what needed to be spoken. He was calm in the midst of the storm. In his final act, He forgave what needed to be forgiven.
We should all live as Jesus Christ died.
JaNae Francis is the religion reporter at the Standard-Examiner. She may be reached at email@example.com or 801-625-4228. You may read her blog, Eye of Faith, at blogs.standard.net/eye-of-faith/.