To my family, I’m sorry… (A letter from the dead to the living)

Photo by Ahmed Adly on Unsplash

To my family, I’m sorry…

You were right, and I’m dead now. I’m sorry for disbelieving you; for putting my own selfish desires first. You deserved better from me, and yet I just couldn’t do it. Maybe I wasn’t strong enough… You were there beside me, loving and encouraging the entire time, hoping and praying that I would get my act together, but in the end what I wanted was more important to me than you.

I was addicted to food, to booze, to video games, and to porn. I was addicted to numbing myself to the pain of all the negative effects brought upon me by my own addictions. Instead of putting myself through the pain of getting stronger and becoming more disciplined, I allowed myself to get fatter and weaker and more useless every day. I remember lashing out in rage at you, all of you. It wasn’t really your fault, though. It was myself that I hated more than anything else.

I still do, you know… hate myself I mean. How could I do this to you? You married the wrong man, my love, and I gave you children who will now struggle their entire lives to have healthy relationships with food, of all things. The thing that they should simply view as fuel for their bodies will now be a crutch upon which they lean until they finally decide to be strong enough to stand on their own. I hope they don’t get as fat as I did. But I can’t hope for much since I ate myself to an early grave… I just hope they don’t do the same even though I know they’ll always have my example in their minds.

And the other things I listed… well they were all simply unnecessary and in every case ultimately harmful. But I was too weak to overcome even the simplest of desires. I couldn’t do it for myself and I couldn’t do it for you. I’m so, so sorry. I hope you go on to live a life worthy of the calling God has given you, and that you don’t let the loss of my worthless life leave you in misery. I know you loved me, and I loved you, too, but forget about me please and live this life the way you would have all along if I wasn’t there dragging you down…

To my love, I know you’ll do greater things than you ever could have done when I was alive. That breaks my heart and fills me with joy at the same time. You deserve a life of joy and adventure and love, not one of weakness and anger. Live!

To my beloved children, don’t let my memory hold you back from growing into strong, powerful men and women. The world lays open before you as long as you don’t give into the devil’s schemes. Remember that regardless of who or what influences you, every decision you make is yours and the outcome is on your shoulders, just as my death is on mine. Live better than me!

I wasn’t good for much, but I’ve gained a certain perspective that I didn’t have before, borne of the reality that I will never see any of you again… so please accept these final words as the lessons which I wish I could have imparted in life, and learn from my mistakes.

Remain humble in the eyes of God. Follow His will and do not be conformed to the world like I was.

Love God and people with all of your strength and don’t ever let anyone convince you that lies are truth.

Always ask questions, and always investigate the answers for yourselves, even when it’s tiresome and you’d rather take the easier road. Don’t.

Think reasonably, from first principles, and do not make decisions based on what is popular, but rather what is true.

Live powerfully, love fiercely, and show the devil that he will have no hold over you in this life or the next.

You, my family, are my heroes. You always were and you always will be. You were the lights shining in the darkness of my life… I only wish I had followed that light instead of resigning myself to a miserable existence and an early grave…

Don’t do what I did, please. Nearly everything about my life should serve as an example for you of what not to do. Other than loving you and helping to create this family, and doing my best to love God in spite of myself, I did nothing right. Do better! You are strong enough and capable enough and with God’s favor nothing will ever be able to stop you unless you let it.

I have to go, now. I wish I could watch and see you all become the people you were meant to be without the weight of my sins and my struggles bearing down on you, but I can’t. I know not where I go, now, but some hope remains in spite of everything…

God bless you.

I love you.

************************************************

Photo by Fey Marin on Unsplash

Oh wow. I’d be lying if I said my eyes weren’t tearing up right now. For context, the above is a letter written as part of the SOULCON challenge. The challenge for today is to write a letter to our families for them to read after we’re gone, as if we had allowed the “fork that feeds our flesh” to kill us. This was difficult to write because there was a time when this letter would have been very much true for me. I thank God that He has shown me grace and helped me to grow closer to becoming the man I should have been all along, and that He has helped me overcome the addictions in my life.

I’m sharing this letter here because I hope that some of you will do this same thing, or even just think about what you would say in this situation. Imagine that you are unhealthy, wasting time, not being a proper husband, wife, father, mother, etc… Imagine you allowed your fleshly desires and addictions to kill you because you weren’t strong enough to turn to God and to overcome these things.

What would you say to them? Would you regret it?

Ecclesiastes 7:4 says, “A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.”

Fools do not think about the end of their lives, about how close or far away that day is, they simply think about the next good time. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be a fool. I want to live a life worthy of the time God has given me. I want to live honorably and to steward what He has given me with love and grace, and I want the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be ever-present in my life.

So I think it’s extremely important to remember that this life isn’t eternal. We have a limited time here before death. There is a concept from classical antiquity, the Latin phrase “memento mori.” If you’re at all familiar with Stoicism or Early Christianity then you have probably heard this before. It basically means “remember that you must die.” This is one way in which the two ideologies or schools of thought previously mentioned line up, among several others.

The concept of keeping death at the forefront of your mind is as old as history, and for good reason.

Genesis 3:19 says the following: “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

God tells the first people that they and their descendants will be required to work for the rest of their lives in order to eat, and that they should remember that they are made from dust, and one day they will return to being dust. It doesn’t look like that verse says we’ll be lazy and happy until we go back into the ground. It says that we must work. And it says to remember our deaths. Many of us do neither. Not truly, at least.

Anyway, I could go on an on but life beckons and while I must remember that someday I’ll die, I also must get on with living. God bless you all and remember what you’ve read here today!

Until next time,
JP

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