Intentional Living and Why Death Is Not My Greatest Fear

Intentional Living and Why Death Is Not My Greatest Fear

Patiently Awakened
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column regarding end-of-life decisions. The reality is that the time will come for every human being. This journey of life and chronic illness continues to teach me salient lessons. I have been asked numerous times if I am afraid of death. My answer is no.

I have had various profound discussions on this subject. My most recent conversation was a few weeks ago. Upon hearing me state that I am not afraid of death, my friend proceeded to ask me my greatest fear. My response, then and now, is that my greatest fear is not living. What exactly does this mean you may ask? I believe that living is more than being physically alive. For me, living means existing with intention, walking in purpose and embracing my truth. Living is the gift of life, in addition to the challenge of discovering what I have been created and called to do.

Intentional living allows me to exist and embrace the spirit of gratitude. I have many bad days and on those days it is wearisome to be positive. My truth is, even on my worst day, I take a moment to give thanks. Why? I give thanks because I am still living. I give thanks because I have hope that tomorrow will be better – if I can just make it through today.

I am thankful for a loving and strong support system, and grateful for the clarity that living with illness and adversity has taught me. I give thanks for all of the people I met who have inspired me and those who continue to inspire me, and for the lives of those who have been touched by something I said or did. My life is about legacy. My purpose is to use my life to make a difference, one step at a time, ultimately making the world a better place with each step.

Years ago, I knew there was greater meaning to my life. Today I realize that every occurrence in my life has led me to this moment. I would not know the value of joy had I not experienced pain. I would not appreciate the sanctity of life if I did not have to fight so laboriously for mine. I wouldn’t know the importance of showing empathy, had it not been for the times I felt ostracized and misunderstood. Lastly, I would not know the importance of my voice, had it not been for the things and the people that tried to quiet mine and for the unbreakable spirit within.

I have vowed to live my truth for the remainder of my days. It is a sacred covenant. Death has its time, and I refuse to die a thousand times waiting for it. Instead, I strive to concentrate on living. I revel in thinking of the good things that life has to offer. I allow my spirit to fully ingest that my life matters. I fear not reaching my full potential. Therefore, this week’s column is simply to encourage you.

We each have something that we are here to do. It is called purpose.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

8 comments

  1. Dear Teresa:
    Thank you for patiently awakened. How beautiful! Your words touched me. I wish I could share them with everyone I know. I work with patients that have a variety of chronic illnesses. Your sentiments are so appropriate for every human being, they may not see it or know it yet but they are.
    Thank you for these beautiful thoughts. I am going to keep your words in a book that I keep for my children. It is a book of things that are meaningful to me.
    Thank you,
    Diana Radford

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Dear Diana,
      Thank you so much for reading my column and for your kind words. You have truly touched my heart. I am honored that my words resonate with you. Blessings to you and your family.

  2. Darlene McCarthy says:

    Thank you. Beautiful article that I am sure will touch many of us living with a chronic illness.

  3. Teresa says:

    Your words could have been written by me as this is exactly how I feel! And this conviction is what gives me strength to soldier on. To be a good example to my children and to everyone who, by nature of their relationship with me, is also on this journey.

  4. Lynne says:

    I am so encouraged by your profound and thoughtful message. Your article has convinced me to reject for good depression and despair, in spite of a challenging life with MS, and to instead, embrace this life I have been blessed with. I, and your readers, owe you a debt of gratitude for reminding us why we are here in the first place. My sincere gratitude and thanks to you for this beautifully written message of hope and purpose.

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