How do i feel and what am I doing about the fact that I am soon to die?

It’s quite certain, you see, that I will soon die. Such was not always the case. Fifty-five years ago when I began my struggle against tuberculosis (I learned years later that my family despaired of my recovery) I could only say, “I may die soon.” But now that I am an octogenarian, I can say without fear of contradiction that I am sure to pass away before much longer.

How do I feel about this prospect of imminent death? Just fine. I’m somewhat surprised at my spontaneous certainty that all will be well with me when I pass from this life. It’s a little like this: every time I come to a church I’m sure I will be safe and will have heartening fellowship. In the same way I’m happily expectant about the good life in the Great Beyond. When I read the New Testament I find myself saying, “I just couldn’t help believing in Jesus.” Just so, I find myself saying, “I just can’t help knowing I’ll be safe when I die.” Sometimes I start arguing with myself: “Are you so sure, old man? Aren’t there some things you haven’t taken into consideration? Are you fit to die happily? Better stop and investigate.” But it’s hard to get my own attention. I drift off into singing bits of songs that I love—I can’t help it.

I must admit I don’t enjoy the prospect of physical death. Let me illustrate what I mean. The first time I underwent a major operation I had complete confidence in the surgeon and in the nurses. I was sure I’d come through fine, and that I’d be in better health. But for some reason I’ve always had a horror of being smothered, and I was afraid the anesthetic would smother me. That’s how I feel about physical death. It’s like a dreaded anesthetic I need to take between ...

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