This is a question I’ve asked myself nearly every morning for the past 10 plus years.

It’s weird and depressing and dark.  Then again, I’m weird and depressing and — if my wife would let me — I’d wear grey and black clothing every day of the year.  To top it off, I’m a mortician.

My mortality contemplation usually takes place in my very small shower.

Surrounded by my son’s toys and my wife’s hair products, I plant my forehead against the shower wall.

With the warm water and the little shelter provided by the WalMart “Mainstay Essentials” shower curtain, for one reason or another, most of my deeper thoughts take place in this little space.  Big Bird and Lightening McQueen are my only company.

“I am” I reply to myself.

That used to be my answer.  “I am.”

And it’s true.  I’m very conscious of the fleeting nature of life.  I’ve buried people who have slipped in the shower, hit their head and died.  Lightening McQueen could be situated in a pile of hair conditioner and “KA CHOW” I could be a goner.

Or, like my Mom-mom Shirley, I could have an unknown brain aneurysm burst without notice, rendering me brain dead in only a couple minutes.

Financially, I’m ready.  I have a life insurance policy in place that will allow my wife to buy all the “Mainstay Essentials” she wants.

Spiritually, I’m a peace with where I’m at and who I am.

My wife and I have had the late night “this is what I want when I die” talks.  She knows.  She knows I want a home funeral and green burial.  And, because of my blogging platform, I’d want the whole process to be documented and edited into a video of sorts.

“I am” used to be my answer.

But recently, I’ve been responding with something different.

When I ask myself in the early hours of the morning, “Are you ready to die?”  I respond with a simple, “I’m ready to live.”

I know, I know … it’s cliche.  Mind you, these aren’t thoughts that are coming to me as I stroll the ruins of the Pnyx.  This is shower time philosophy when my brain is in the caffeine starved limbo of neither being asleep nor being awake.

But it has occurred to me that to live fully assumes you’re ready to die.  That once you’ve made peace with your mortality, you’re life becomes that much more precious.

So, I’m ready to live.  To take risks.  To embrace vulnerability.  To love.  To extend grace.  To forgive.  To allow myself to enjoy the things I like.  To fail.  And to forgive myself.

Next week I’ll share some of the profound thoughts I’ve had while sitting on my toilet.





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