Today, a hospice chaplain I didn’t know came to visit me for the first time, perhaps imagining that since I signed up for hospice services I might be at death’s doorstep. I think I gave him a big surprise.
Even with cancer, my COPD makes me look like a poster child of health with pink, rosy cheeks.
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After he got over his surprise at how healthy I looked, the chaplain asked me if I believed in Christ. Baha’is believe in all of God’s messengers, including Christ, as this passage from one of Abdu’l-Baha’s speeches clearly shows:
The basis of the teaching of Baha’u’llah is the Unity of Mankind, and his greatest desire was that love and goodwill should live in the heart of men. …
The people of Islam were taught to realize how Jesus came from God and was born of the Spirit, and that He must be glorified of all men. Moses was a prophet of God, and revealed in His day and for the people to whom He was sent, the Book of God.
Muhammad recognized the sublime grandeur of Christ and the greatness of Moses and the prophets. If only the whole world would acknowledge the greatness of Muhammad and all the Heaven-sent Teachers, strife and discord would soon vanish from the face of the earth, and God’s Kingdom would come among men. …
Christ was the Prophet of the Christians, Moses of the Jews – why should not the followers of each prophet recognize and honour the other prophets also? If men could only learn the lesson of mutual tolerance, understanding, and brotherly love, the unity of the world would soon be an established fact.
Because of this Baha’i ideal of religious unity, I’ve been reading the Holy Bible lately, starting from the Hebrew Testament, and I am now on 2 Kings. I’m reading the Bible on my tablet, so I showed the chaplain what I was reading and also pointed to the Holy Bible on my bookcase. Maybe this convinced him that I believe in both Christ and Baha’u’llah. He promised to see me every three weeks to talk about Jesus some more. I hope so since I love talking and hearing about Christ – just as I do all of God’s holy messengers and their teachings.
I will tell you this – when you get to the end of your life on this physical plane of existence as I have, you naturally become much more interested in what all of God’s messengers said and did. You want to understand and appreciate their transcendent messages. As a Baha’i, I care about all of those holy messengers – Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Christ, Muhammad, and most recently Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith. Baha’is love and revere each one of God’s prophets, and in fact regard them as one, as Baha’u’llah wrote: “… all the Prophets are but one and the same soul, spirit, name, and attribute … ‘
I realized that truth even more yesterday when the visiting nurse told me the time had come for me to purchase “the package.” Those are my end-of-life medications – the ones I’ll take when the cancer pain becomes unbearable and my death nears. Today, the pharmacy called to indicate that the package is ready, and told me that it has five different medications, all for my comfort when the time comes.
It is good to know that I am fully equipped with all I need – in fact, I find it really interesting to observe all this progress in preparation for my passing. When I leave this world, there will be one more step that my # 1 angel will have to take – to give my exit date to the firm that has already etched what I want on my tombstone.
You may be thinking that all this is morbid, but no, it does not frighten or bother me. I really do see my impending death as a natural process, and, as the Baha’i teachings define it, as “a messenger of joy.” Some people, I know, have a very hard time when death approaches and the inevitable fate that awaits us all becomes a very present reality, but I truly believe the Baha’i writings on the matter, like this beautiful passage from Abdu’l-Baha:
These few brief days shall pass away, this present life shall vanish from our sight; the roses of this world shall be fresh and fair no more, the garden of this earth’s triumphs and delights shall droop and fade. The spring season of life shall turn into the autumn of death, the bright joy of palace halls give way to moonless dark within the tomb. And therefore is none of this worth loving at all, and to this the wise will not anchor his heart.
He who hath knowledge and power will rather seek out the glory of heaven, and spiritual distinction, and the life that dieth not.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m in any hurry. For today, I’m doing everything to raise up my blood pressure, and it is coming up very slowly. I am working on preparing a presentation about loss to the other residents here in the long-term care facility, but this one will be easy since I have all the material I need.
I am so grateful to God. I have a support system for my presentations here, and all I have to do is stand up while talking or just sit to do so. My support system helpers will do all the real work of providing me with material or a PA system since I cannot project loud enough, and the audience is hard of hearing. I am looking forward to doing it and I love having that chance here, so what else could I want? Another blessing is that the people from hospice are so nice, kind, and down-to-earth. I really appreciate my good fortune, to know that the number of angels is increasing for me here and at this age and stage of life. I am living a spiritually and emotionally rich existence.
When I look back on it, I know I’ve lived a wonderful, happy life. I’m 87 years old, and I have everything I need, so I am at peace. I thank cancer for providing me with this opportunity to graduate from the physical plane to a spiritual one. I’m so looking forward to the journey!