Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Grateful Death

Linda Cole sent me this marvelous passage from the writings of Henri Nouwen:
When we think about death, we often think about what will happen to us after we have died. But it is more important to think about what will happen to those we leave behind. The way we die has a deep and lasting effect on those who stay alive. It will be easier for our family and friends to remember us with joy and peace if we have said a grateful good-bye than if we die with bitter and disillusioned hearts.

The greatest gift we can offer our families and friends is the gift of gratitude. Gratitude sets them free to continue their lives without bitterness or self-recrimination.
What a beautiful reflection on the place of gratitude at the end of life. The way we will be able to practice gratitude then is to practice it now. Let us all commit to giving this wonderful gift to those we leave behind.

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