Last night a friend of me sent something to me from a friend of his who is dying. I don’t know the man who wrote this personally and his name is intentionally being kept anonymous, though I did get permission through my friend to post this testimony of the last days of this man’s life.
I’m thankful to this anonymous man, a former minister himself, for the opportunity to share this very short but very touching part of his life with my readers.
It is often said that we unbelievers will find ourselves quick to repentance at the end of our days, grasping fearfully at the prospect of eternity. Here, proof otherwise.
Testimony of a Dying Man.
15 years ago I missed a turn and drove off a 30 foot cliff knowing absolutely that I would not survive when it was over. I had often wondered through the years what I would say or do when facing certain death and I found out at that time. My wife was riding with me and as we went airborne I heard myself say “oh, sweetheart”… In that short moment airborne… And utter complete mental silence. 8 feet of snow saved our lives a second later.
A week ago I was scheduled for a gallbladder x-ray to confirm the presence of a problem which could be surgically removed… Perhaps even that same day. Unexpected phone silence ensued. My spirit began to open to other unexpected possibilities and to ready itself for whatever it may be. My Catholic upbringing had instilled the concepts of sin, salvation, resultant heaven hell and purgatory. My 44 year search since leaving that world view had exposed me to alternatives of every age of mankind. During that 44 year search I have often wondered if, when faced with an ultimate certainty of death in the near future, would I resort to the old paradigm or could I bring forward and live within what I had found in the meantime…. For within the last year of my life I have arrived at a silent and deep knowingness that taking evolutionary cosmology to the deepest emotional level gave me the foundation I never found in an anthropomorphic God structure…. But I always had a slight wonder, “is it only conceptually deep?”
Five days ago, I and my wife listened to the words on the speakerphone as she sat opposite me and she later said that when I heard the words she saw a huge transformation of calmness and clarity come over me….”You have inoperable metastasized liver cancer, and may expect two months at the outside”. And in the five days since that news I have experienced a calmness and centeredness such as religious faith had never provided. I have found a sense of place and process within the world view of evolutionary cosmology such as I have searched for relentlessly in my 77 years…. And it is increasingly feeding my spirit daily with a sense of readiness for every present moment in this process of dying.
I am finally really learning how to live in the moment. Fear and hope have no place in this process. It is a readiness and willingness of an utterly deep knowingness.
Farewell. We truly all are in this together.
atheism, cancer, Christianity, clergy, death, dying, ex-clergy, ministry, testimony