Tag Archives: Reflection

Would You Change?

I was recently forwarded an email written by a woman shortly after losing her husband to a long battle with esophageal cancer.  The man at the center of the email was Forrest Church, the former Senior Minister of All Souls Church in New York City.  While I never met Forrest, judging by the email, he was an incredible man.

What has really stuck with me from the email is the description of his final moments.

We were able to get Forrest home five hours before he died. We had celebrated his birthday the night before. Forrest had been very quiet, conserving his strength as he knew the end was near. He listened to the sound of our laughter; we sang him many of his favorite songs. When I told him the kids were leaving for the night, he slowly raised his hand and gave them a salute. When we got him home and settled, we gathered around him, held him close, put on his favorite music and told him it was time. We were ready for him to go. I was playing Tracy Chapman’s song, “Change”:

If you knew that you would die today
Saw the face of god and love
Would you change?
Would you change?

If you knew that love can break your heart
When you’re down so low that you cannot fail
Would you change?
Would you change?

Forrest shed some tears, and then was gone. He wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Hindsight is 20/20.  It is easy to look back and see all the big and little things you might have changed.

While most of us are not facing our own death, we are all facing a new year and decade.  For many, 2009 was a difficult year, and I am sure most of us would like to have a few “do-overs”.

However, at this time meant for reflection (which coincides here in the northern hemisphere with the winter solstice), I hope we can all look back and see the good, big or small, that happened in 2009. Let’s be grateful for that good and seek to learn from the rest.  And in closing, I thought it appropriate to end this blog with a quote from Reverend Church, which I’ve been told was a refrain often repeated to his congregation:

“Do what you can.  Want what you have.  And be who you are.”

–Forrest Church

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