Pausing to Ponder Mortality

imageTo Quote David Bowie:  “As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three.  How long? And what do I do with the time I’ve got left?  I don’t know where I’m going from here but I promise it won’t be boring.”

Bowie’s death this week is a wake up call for us to pause and ponder our own mortality.  It begs the question: “How long will I live?”

None of us know the exact answer to that question.  However, we can determine what we want to do with whatever time we have left on this earth.

To this end, our book club has chosen to read Atul Gawande’s best seller, “Being Mortal.”  When we gather to discuss this ground-breaking book, we will open ourselves up to share what it means for each of us to live our best life as we face the growing awareness of our mortality.

Dr. Gawande’s work will guide our conversation and help us set our intentions and goals for the future.  As he says: “Our ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death but a good life to the very end.”

I invite you to read “Being Mortal” and then to share your thoughts with trusted friends and family members.  Its never too early to have these conversations, but there may come a time when it is too late for them to make a difference.  So take the time to pause and ponder your mortality with those you love.  It may be one of the most meaningful gifts you give yourself and your loved ones as we begin this new year.




4 thoughts on “Pausing to Ponder Mortality

  1. This is a very important book because it helps us to see our mortality with new lenses. Even though I have served as a hospital and hospice chaplain, and a parish priest for many, many years, I found the author’s advice on how to deal with end of life issues as extremely new and refreshing. I especially appreciate his advice on how to approach having difficult conversations. Also, he encourages us to write the last chapters of our life with confidence and dignity.


  2. Happy to have found you, as I read this days Abbey of the Arts posting. I am in Wilmington, DE and curious that you served the Diocese here. I moved here in 2002, founding the Anamchara Fellowship, with my co-founder Sister Julian. Did we ever run across each other here? As I am heading to 63 this summer, I do need to spend more time contemplating what it means to journey into our last stages of life. I will look for “Being Mortal” and add it to my list. I am newly published…a book that was begun 25 years ago… ‘Convents, Jails and Other Tales” a sort of primer on reading the Mystics and the development of our own spiritual language. I have been an Episcopal Religious for over 40 years… Whew! What an awesome ride!


  3. I reach your blog through Abbey of the Arts, reading Dyeing to be young…Reflections on turning 70…

    I find that pondering about mortality is pondering about love. Because of love we cherish love of our family and friends. Further on also love of the others, those with other faces, silent faces, suffering faces others without a voice.

    We want to live a good life, a meaningful life, a love life for our family and for others.
    Life is short and we don’t know it will be shortened.

    I enjoy your article at the “Abbey” and this blog.


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