Are you focusing on "What's Next?"

I came across a thought-provoking article my a writer named Gustavo Razzetti that gave me great pause.  His article was titled, “Why Accepting Death Will Make You Worry Less.”

While I don’t necessarily agree with his proposition that the acceptance of death will make you worry less, for me the interesting part of his article was the exercise he said he learned from someone named Bernie Roth at Stanford.  Here’s how it goes:

“Imagine you have 10 min to live, what would you do?”

Answering the questions one at a time with great thought, we are to continue the exercise moving from 10 minutes, to ten days, ten months, ten years and the rest of your life; then see what happens to your perspective.

I don’t normally spend much time on these sorts of questions, but for some reason, this one caught my attention.  As I reflected on what I would do, beginning with 10 minutes, the first one was easy.

Without hesitation and with great urgency, I would go to confession and receive the Eucharist and get anointed.  That is really a no-brainer for me.  If I’m dying, I want to get my slate as clean as possible in my short time left.

The only way this exercise works is if you take it seriously and take the time to give each extended period your attention.  I figured that as my time lengthened, my urgency would decrease, but oddly for me, that didn’t happen.

I seemed to retain the same sense of urgency, but more for spreading the gospel.  As anyone who has that fire within them knows, there is a real sense of wanting to be sure everyone knows about God and salvation before it is too late.

I suspect that is not so different from the urgency with which the first disciples of Jesus lived.  Going out on mission, there was the very real sense that people needed to know what they knew about who Jesus was.

For us today, the urgency comes from wanting people to know that although your life might be moving along just fine, you are really missing out if you are not aware of Jesus and actively seeking him, or responding to his call when prompted.

If you do not pay much attention to your faith or the reality that there is a God, you may be terribly surprised when you only have 10 minutes or 10 days to “catch up,” if you have been living your entire life as if he doesn’t exist.
And that is (or will be) really sad.

The urgency to spread the gospel rises up out of a love and concern for others, but it is frustrated by how difficult it can be to break into the everyday, where people are so busy and distracted and comfortable that they just don’t see a need to live faith-centered lives, often because they feel that they just don’t have time.

What this exercise really does is require you to prioritize.  You have to think about what you spend most of your time on and what is high on your list of importance.

You have to re-think what really matters when you consider you may only have 10 minutes left.

It forces you to ask, “What comes next?” after this life, and deal with your conclusions and beliefs.

You begin to consider, What is petty?  What is trivial?  What really matters?

According to Razzetti, “Western civilizations fear death. That’s because we’ve been taught to hold on to things. In our material world, life has become a possession too. And we cannot let go of it.

Interestingly enough, when someone dies, even the most religious folks feel sad. We hold onto life as a material property, thus blinding our spiritual beliefs.”

Since I have no background on this author or the group he has founded, I have to admit that when he says, “Transformation is human-led—it happens through the people who will live it. People and organizations need to build their own capability and capacity to transform, constantly” it strikes a disconnect with me because I believe that transformation is Holy Spirit led.  I’m not seeing that in this comment.

Nevertheless, I thought I would share this little exercise with you and hope that you give it a try.  

Let me know what you discover.

Here is a link to the original article if you want to check it out for yourself, but like I said, I don’t know much about the author so do not take it as a recommended website.

Janet Cassidy


Popular posts from this blog

The Memorare

10 Minute Daily Retreat: 7 Months, 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ Sunday Reflections, The Baptism of the Lord, Year C