"By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones" (Hebrews 11:22, NIV 1984).
Dr. C. Everett Koop died this year. He was a great man of God and U.S. Surgeon General under President Ronald Reagan. I remember him best because he refused to write a forward to a book I wrote. He disagreed with my understanding of God's place in human suffering. He told me, "If I did not believe that God's purpose was behind my son's death, I could not believe at all."
I came across his New York Times obituary online this week. It began like this:
"Dr. C. Everett Koop, who was widely regarded as the most influential surgeon general in American history and played a crucial role in changing public attitudes about smoking, died on Monday at his home in Hanover, N.H. He was 96."
Most of us don't normally choose to read obituaries, but Dr. Koop's started me thinking. What would I want to be said about me when I am on the other side and others are reflecting on my life?
Like everyone, I've completed some worthwhile accomplishments, things I'm proud I did; but are they at the heart of all that I wish to be remembered for? As my mind was caught up in these thoughts, I decided to write my own obituary. What do I really want my family and colleagues and patients to remember about me when I have completed life on this side of heaven? Here goes:
Dr. ___ was kind.
He lived a grand adventure with his Creator and the wife he loves.
He was a Christian doctor who truly cared for those who suffer.
He loved Jesus.
He loved his family.
He loved his patients.
He tried his best to live what he believed and trusted God to fashion the best from his efforts.
He is now alive again, and quite at peace with his Maker and with the loved ones who have gone before him.
He leaves behind many others whom he loves, but he expects to be with them again, before too long.
For me, this was a cool exercise. Might be good for all of us. Now, the critical question is, "Have I lived a life consistent with such an obituary?"
If not, I've still got time.
Help me live the way I wish to be remembered.