One of the experiences of ministry for which I am most grateful is that of serving people who aren’t going make it–the Alzheimers and cancer patients. People who know they will die (or loose their mind) within a matter of months or years can tell you a lot about the meaning of life and sanity. But sometimes what they say is not so important as what they do.
I’ve noticed that the group of people who have the hardest time dealing with terminal conditions are those who try to justify their existence through their work. The reason they have such a hard time is that every capability by which they attempted this is being slowly stripped away. Self-justification is difficult at best when you can even wipe your own bottom.
The lesson I take from this is that the value of my life is not the sum of my abilities, activities, or accomplishments; because these will all be taken from me in the end. To push it a step further, it cannot be related to my knowledge, attributes, or character; because these will cease to exist when I cease to exist. To put it bluntly: These dying people force me to realize that there is no permanent thing about me which justifies my existence.
You’ve read the prescription. Now take the pill.