I can’t remember exactly when it was that I started reading the obituaries everyday, but its been at least a few years. Maybe you think it’s strange that someone like me who goes to great lengths to fill my mind with positive and encouraging things and limit the negative flow in, would even read the obituaries. But I do. I started so that I could know if someone I know lost a family member so that I could pray for them and offer encouragement or support or whatever else would be appropriate given the relationship. It turns out that the obits offer quite a few other things as well if we pay attention.
The first thing I notice about the obituaries….is that I am not in them! If I can read them, I am still upright, still pursuing my goals, still experiencing life, still able to love, laugh, and whatever else I want….THIS is a good thing.
The next significant thing I notice are the ages of the people who die. More and more frequently there are people my age or younger. Some days there are more people under 50 than over! I look for clues as to what was the cause of death because the obits don’t usually say it outright. But if you look closely you often see words like hospice or there will be a suggestion to donate to a cancer fund, so you know it was cancer. You will also see words like “suddenly” or “unexpectedly” which is more often than not a heart attack.
I wish the obits told a little more of the truth though. I wish they would say things like, “He smoked a pack a day and ate frequently at McDonalds” or “She was 80 pounds over weight and hadn’t exercised in 18 years.” This might be useful in helping people GET IT and stop thinking they can treat their body like a garbage disposal (you can put anything in it and if it breaks someone can fix it) and live a good long enjoyable life. Unless you are a genetic immune, neglecting your health and living a good life are mutually exclusive things!
Current statistics: 34% of American are OBESE and 33% are overweight but haven’t reached the obese classification. This is a major contributor to the Cancers and heart diseases that are hidden in the daily obits.
Something else I think about…did this person really live. Did they go after their dreams, did they take some risks, did they experience each day? Or did they settle for less than they were purposed for? Did they say “I’ll do it tomorrow?” Hmmmm…lots to ponder, but enough for now.
So in short summary…read the obits and: Be Glad your alive, let the lessons keep you alive, live life as fully as you can, and get passionate about encouraging your loved ones to stay alive.