Yesterday I received a flyer for a multi-faith program sponsored by Saint Francis Hospice and The Department of Religion of the Saint Francis Health System entitled "Easing the Pain of the Soul". The program will have a panel of speakers from all the major religions and will describe the ways "various traditions offer comfort and hope in times of terminal illness." I was very struck by the following quote included in the flyer:
Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no things, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
(1768 - 1813)