Thursday, May 31, 2012


Several years ago I did a post with this title and then talked of some things that were of little consequence in the big picture to anyone except me. I'm going to revisit that post title with something important to no one but me again. But what else is a blog for except to communicate some personal stuff sometimes. Here's some of my personal stuff.

William Shakespeare wrote a comedy around 1600 a.d. [First performed in 1598-99]  He used a title with a meaning that has been debated for years. He entitled it Much Ado About Nothing. Some say, as did George Bernard Shaw, that Shakespeare used short, casual titles for his comedies as a marketing tool for devaluing them to the tastes of the low-brow portion of the general public. In other words, it was a money making tool to sell to the multitudes.

I'm not sure of Shakespeare's intention in using that title for this play but it has come to mean "a lot said about things of little consequence." That's the meaning I'm giving it for this particular post. "Much ado about nothing! I'm sure it may be nothing to some but it's my nothing and so I will make much ado about it.

I'm now nearly 72 years of age. [Will be as of July 19th 2012]  Honestly, I've had a sense of living on borrowed time for the past nearly thirty years. This has been since having triple by-pass surgery in 1986 and living through it when a sister, just older, a dad and his five brothers, my uncles, all died in their forties and fifties from the very thing for which I had surgery. It seemed to me back in 1986 that I was given an extension of life.

I do know, of course, that death for any Christian is an appointment thing. And I know that Jesus has to insert the key to 'unlock death' for any believer to die. [How this meshes with accidents and suicides I'll leave for getting some answers post-time in eternity.] Paul said as much in 1 Thess. 4:13 where he was addressing, "Those who are asleep [have died] "in Jesus," or as the Greek word 'dia' means, "Through the agency of Jesus." Paul is saying that death for a believer is like a lock for which only Jesus has the Key. He has to unlock death for a Christian or it won't come. When He does, it will. It's as simple as that. Father will explain how it all fits later I'm confident.

But from the human side, which is what I'm addressing here, I've had a sense of living on borrowed time since that long ago surgery because I am after all__human.

Add to that the fact that I've lived with the woman of my dreams for fifty-three years now and we've both begun to realize we're losing friends and family to death at an accelerated rate because of our age and are, consequently, more aware of our own mortality than ever before, and you have cause for my contemplation about death.

By the way, this girl of my dreams with whom I live, has a little bit of a strange quirk. She doesn't like surprises. She doesn't even like making decisions spontaneously. She likes to contemplate the consequences and weigh the options.  Me? I love things spontaneous. I love surprises. Take away my spontaneity and you will rob me of half the joy in my life. As I said...she's weird.  [I think anyone who isn't like me is a bit weird :)]

So, last Monday, Memorial day, while floating on our pool-chairs and talking, I asked her what was the first thing she would do if, say, I died on June 1st. I felt this might help to eliminate any pressured decisions were any to ever be needed. She postulated that I, in fact, was the one a bit weird. But we ended up talking about a list of things to do if one or the other of us were to die.

As you can imagine, a lot of OTHER things came to light as well.

Things like the fact that we both have personal issues with the typical memorial service of our day. Even with many so-called christian memorial services. You may agree with Mary about my weirdness [though she thinks much the same way] when you hear what I said about my wishes concerning a memorial service. I want Mary to be in charge of that service entirely. This is basically because she is the least pretentous person I know and knows me better than anyone else on this earth. Put together, that spells REAL. I will admit this might be a bit of a last ditch effort on my part at making all extreme Fundmentalists uncomfortable [a woman in charge?] with me in my death as they have been with me in my life. But that's a minor point in it all I assure you.

I also want no message at all by a preacher. I've nothing against preachers being one myself, I simply want our four kids to speak, if they will and can, and anyone else Mary chooses. The singing will feature some anniversary songs I've put on tape for Mary over the years which includes some fifties, some Merle Haggard love songs, Lee Greenwood love songs, [Mary swoons at his voice] and my favorite gospel and praise choruses. I've used music of every genre to celebrate my life in Christ and being in love with that dream woman, so why not at my home going!!

You can see as we talked we were reminded anew that, while we would grieve and hurt were the other to die, we would not be paralyzed by grief because our marriage is NOT the source of life for us. He is that. Our marriage has been a great RESOURCE for making life better, but we both agree He is our source. So we will draw from Him any strength needed, depending on which one goes first, and celebrate the one gone in music, words, and with people. A reception will follow for all to enjoy the moment and one another because the burial will have already been accompished that morning with the family only present.

As I write this I'm impressed again with what we've decided. I like it. It's us! But it will have to wait. That key has not been inserted into the lock of death__for me or her__as of yet, so we'll just put our plans in a folder for later, much later perhaps, who knows.

I'm aware some people think death is a not a thing to joke about. But I tend to lighten moments that are naturally heavy__with humor. It may be an escape avenue or a pop off valve, but that's part of the "weird" in me.

Besides, I'm not sure but what it is good for us to be reminded that life is a journey through stages and included in that journey is this stage called death. So like Shakespeare, I want to give some comedy to that stage. When my death comes, and it will if Jesus tarries, I want it to be a smiling, laughing, shouting time to some degree. Much ado about nothing. I'll sure be celebrating THERE, so why should those who are HERE not celebrate with me?

Paul B.


Aussie John said...


Well, my friend, I'm flabbergasted!

I read your article to my wife, and daughter who is visiting with us. My daughter's comment was,"That's what you wrote to us a couple of years ago!"

For some time prior to my triple bypass surgery, I had a sense that, as far as my days in this life were concerned, that things were about to change, and that I ought to write to my family regarding my thoughts for the days after my death, which Val and I had shared.

With very slight differences, you have echoed my every thoughts, "issues with the typical memorial service of our day. Even with many so-called christian memorial services.";"I also want no message at all by a preacher.";etc., etc.

I love the parenthesis "[a woman in charge?]"

I want it to be an immediate family event,wife and five children to say what they wish.

Any public announcement of my death, must be made after my mortal remains are well and truly dealt with.

They've been warned! I'm coming back to haunt them if they do not accede to my wishes :)

Above all, I want them to rejoice WITH me, for, as you say,"I want it to be a smiling, laughing, shouting time to some degree. Much ado about nothing. I'll sure be celebrating THERE, so why should those who are HERE not celebrate with me?"

It seems apparent that you and I are blessed with something else we hold in common, my daughter tells me I'm "weird"!

Takes all kinds :)

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

It does, indeed, take all kinds. And I think you and I are having a blast being "our Kind." [Weird]

Tell your family the same threat has gone out to my family if they deviate very much from my wishes. LOL

Anonymous said...

I have told you that I don't want a funeral, but you said it is for the family. Mimi knows what I want(she also wants the same thing), but of course it will be her decision. Of course you and Reggie Coe are down for preaching my funeral and Melody for singing at my funeral.

I always say "I think everybody is weird but me and thee, but sometimes I think it is thee???? Barbara Phillips

Paul Burleson said...


You are a long-time friend but a first time commenter if I remember correctly. Thanks and keep coming by. Mary and I love you and yours and have for many years now.

Wanda (Deb) Martin said...


Thanks for sharing your testimony about living on borrowed time. May God bless you with many more years here on earth!

I can relate to this post. July 21 (two days after your upcoming birthday) will mark my 40th year of 'borrowed time'. It was on that day in 1972 that I was in a horrific accident which could have claimed my life. I wrote about it in a post and believe with all my heart that my life was spared for some reason unknown to me at the time.

TWW - 2/17/10 Post

I am blessed to have been given a second chance, and I am trying to make a difference for eternity.

I'll be thinking of you on your birthday in preparation for a 40-year milestone in my own life.

Paul Burleson said...


I read the words you wrote about the accident. You, better than I, know what it is to see one's life as a gift of extension from the human perspective.

Your telling of that graphic and horrific accident also says a great deal to me about you and your commitment to excellence in all things for His glory.

I count our Internet friendship to be a special gift from Poppa and thank Him every day for it.

Rex Ray said...


You’ve heard an acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. I broke my pelvis 50 feet from where my dad broke his at the same age of 72. A tractor turned over on him and I fell 10 feet from a pear tree.

When I was 38, I fell 23 feet, got up and went back to work, but 10 feet also broke 5 ribs and ruptured my spleen. (Doc said, “An hour later and you’d be pushing up daisies.)

My family doc told me if I’d been the average person, I should have died 3 times that year. The closest was when blood vessels broke from eating spoiled hotel food and I ran out of blood and stopped breathing.

Yes, life has been more precious since then. Someone wrote we should live so even the undertaker would be sad.

23 years ago, I got on ‘health foods’ and made the mistake (more ways than one) in telling Belle I was going to live to 120.

“I’m not living that long. Who’s going to be your next wife?”

I tried to tell her forget it, but she kept bugging me until I told her:

“You know how old guys marry sweet young things?”


“Well, my next wife probably hasn’t been born yet.”

I laughed my head off, but she yelled, “That’ll never happen…you don’t have that much money!”

I may be like the guy on his death bed asking his wife if all the children were here, and when she said yes, he said, “Why is the light on in the kitchen?”

My grandfather scratched his leg and died from blood poison, He said he’d never die in bed, so he put his boots on and sat in a rocking chair waiting for a sunrise that never came. 38 years later, his wife said with a big smile, “I see poppa” and she was gone.

My oldest cousin died in China when she was 5 saying “Mama, which one is our house?”

If we could choose our last words, what would they be? We remember one man’s words: “It is finished.”

Victorious said...

Oh, I love your post and the comments as well! End of life wishes are definitely something that needs (at some point) to be discussed with loved ones.

Unlike some who posted here, I've not been seriously ill nor had an accident in all my 69 yrs. I've not seen a doctor for about 15 yrs. Perfectly healthy far as I know. But like my mom used to say, "ya gotta die of something" so its inevitable.

I've given copies of "5 Wishes" from Hospice to both of my sons that specifies my end of life wishes.

Anyway, thanks for a wonderful, thoughtful, and humorous post dealing with a serious issue.

Mary Ann