I’m not sure when it occurred, but I’m quite certain it happened. There was no single moment, rather, a tide which carried me to a different shore. I’m new to this spiritual island, and I know there is no going back – It’s my home for my remaining days.
I’ve entered the epilogue stage of my life. These are the days haunted by knowing Time is picking up speed. These are the years when our losses no longer whisper, but shout, even scream. It's an era when eternity’s echo reverberates off our souls.
I can actually hear my soul’s pulse these days. It's different from my heartbeat - Deeper, fuller and clearer in its honesty. Most of my conversations with God are no more than a knowing nod, a smile of approval, or blank stare of resignation.
We all live knowing we will someday die. This is Life’s grand paradox, and the igniter of a good bit of faith. It is frightening and inviting at the same time. I find it to be an experience for which I cannot prepare, but do accept.
No, I’m not yearning to die. Yes, I regret not having taken better care of my body and my health. Ministry has prepared me well for my epilogue days. They are quite short, like watching a sun slowly set, until the very end, when it seems to quickly plunge over the horizon and disappear.
When did my epilogue begin? Well, it could just be a matter of aging, maturing, eroding, or slowly surrendering my illusion of control. I’m nearing seventy, and I wake up most mornings sounding like a large bowl of Rice Krispies. I snap, I crackle, and at some point in the day, I pop. The mirror tells me I look like an elderly Pillsbury Dough Boy. My soul tells me to embrace my state and claim the truths revealed.
Life is precious, and we squander so many days with excessive tasks, worrying, people pleasing, pondering how to get even, figuring out the score, trying to be perfect, and living a life mostly about performance and pretense. During the epilogue, we become vividly aware of what a waste of time much if that was.
The epilogue is time for us to listen to our callings and choose to follow. It is time to obey our soul, our Higher Power, and find freedom in doing so. It is time to seek integrity, dignity, and above all else, maturity. During the epilogue days, we experience the glaring kinship of maturing and being a spiritual creature. We know it is time to stop zealously trying to be young, and to begin to wear our wrinkles with grace and pride.
Maturity is what the soul instinctually seeks. Like a magnet. Like gravity. Maturity tries to prevent us from wasting anymore time or energy, to stop us from acting as though we have all the answers, and to return us to wisdom’s source by having the right questions.
So much of our lives are spent trying not to be human, thus failing to be true to God’s will. It’s time to open our Selves to receiving the gift of God’s Grace, and accepting the terms God has set for our lives. We all need to live with less, slow down, celebrate being ordinary, and admire the extraordinary things accomplished by those who simply choose to be good.
We tend to be greedy, and often ignore or are indifferent to the poor, the lost & lonely, the oppressed & abused, even the elderly. Truth is, you cannot take “It” with you. There are no pockets in a shroud. Nobody will carve the state of your bank account on your tombstone. We all will be known solely by the depth, tenacity and tenderness with which we love one another.
In the midst of these epilogue days, most of us have a revelation. We want to make a difference, a mark of kindness, an act of forgiveness, a responsibility met, a love actualized, and the finding of a faith we can put into action. We are aware of wanting to put forward our best Selves, and what a tragedy it would be to live our last days in fear and loathing.
I have no interest in trying to figure out what lies beyond. These epilogue days have taught me that I will never know, and building the Kingdom in the here and now is of much greater importance than worrying about who will presumably get into heaven, or not, something which I have no control over.
I must trust God. I must live and love in the present, as it is all I have, or ever had. Trying to make heaven happen here – Noticing the miracles erupting all around us, paying attention to the broken hearts and wounds of others, or just trying to make someone’s day – is a splendid way to spend time in the epilogue days.
A full life is not full of stuff, or power, or money. Life of ours is so worth the effort – and until our last breath it is one mighty effort indeed. A full life is bloated with a peace which passes all understanding, a peace which must be walked, not talked, and a peace of mind which comes to those who believe their lives matter to God; that we are indeed needed by God; that we are appreciated by our Creator.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.