Death, Diapers, and Wilson Phillips


“He was a great patriot, a humanitarian, a loyal friend – provided, of course, that he really is dead.” Voltaire

Yesterday morning, quite early, my head was filled with an old Wilson Phillips song. Not long afterwards, I realized that I was completely out of diapers for my 2 month old daughter. I looked at her sleeping like a tiny bundle of pink loveliness and realized that the situation would need to be remedied. It was about 5:30 a.m. Our grocery store doesn’t open until 6 a.m. I waited in the parking lot while she cooed and burbled, for the time content in her dirty diaper. The cooing turned to crying before long, however, and I decided to take a few turns around the dark, empty parking lot. (We live in a small town, so this isn’t as dangerous as it would have been in a large city at that hour.) I waited and watched as the vendors’ trucks came and went. The moon was out and there was little traffic. When I was finally able to get inside the store, there was ONE box left and it was opened already. Everything was otherwise as it should have been, however, there was no more of that size for anyone else who didn’t want to pay twice the amount I did for more expensive brands. Our area has has a baby boom over the last few years. There must be a run on size 1 diapers!

At any rate, as I returned home, secure with my sweet, sleeping infant and her size 1/2 diapers (what’s up with a mixed size of diapers?), my sleep-deprived thoughts turned to death, last words, and a scene from Return of the King, where a mentally unstable Steward of Gondor talked of “death embalmed and a long, slow sleep”. The night previous, my husband Adam told me that I needed to go to sleep. I answered rather glibly that I would sleep when I was dead. Adam does not like me to talk about my death. Understandably, I don’t like to think of his death either. Nonetheless, it is something we must all consider. We need to think about the kind of life we live. We need to consider the people we are now and the people we desire to become in the future. How will people think of us when we are no longer drawing breath? I want to be mourned, not because I am just such an awesome person I can never be replaced, but because I’ve made a contribution to people’s lives. The sum of our lives is what we leave behind in other people’s lives, not the possessions we accumulate or the records we break.

“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit. Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, at all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” Ephesians 5:15-20 Amplified Version

I would admonish and encourage you to be a person worthy of remembrance. Live richly by investing in other people. Give generously. Listen patiently. Help cheerfully. LOVE. Make your epitaph an eloquent sonnet to the milk of human kindness. In this way, your life stretches on a terrible long count of years. In this way, you are well worthy of remembering.

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