“Teach us to count our days,” says the psalmist, “that we may gain a wise heart.”
Perhaps you, like me, have been literally counting your days a lot recently. If so, you’ll know that today marks the beginning of week 15 since the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered our community on March 12. Tomorrow will be day 100. That’s 100 days without in-person community, of forced separation, of journeying into an unknown future; 100 days that none of us could have planned nor predicted.
While speaking with various church members over the phone throughout these past 100 days, the conversation inevitably has included the question, “So how have you been spending these days?” Answers have ranged from cleaning and organizing to lamenting and TV watching. Everyone has processed this time differently and has filled their days with their own unique brand of activities.
Several people, however, have mentioned something akin to, “This pandemic time has helped me plan for the future. It’s helped me count my days.” For many, the worldwide pandemic has awakened them to the truth that every day is a gift and that they would like to use these days to make faithful preparations for their own departure from this world.
End-of-life planning can be daunting. In addition to wrestling with the reality of death and the mystery of what lies beyond it, the sheer scope of preparations is enough to overwhelm anyone. To help, the Senior Adult Council and Caring Ministries Team at BMPC have compiled three documents to assist you:
- Planning Guide: This document is designed to help you organize all your information related to end-of-life planning in one place. It takes the anxiety out of making sure you have all the necessary components organized. It provides space to list all pertinent individuals, organizations, and document locations, and prompts you to address questions you may not have considered before.
- Resource Guide: This guide is designed to complement the Planning Guide. Within its pages you’ll find detailed, up-to-date information, regarding the various fields and components of end-of-life planning and care. While it is not intended as a “How To” to replace the advice of skilled professionals in the medical, tax or legal fields, it is intended to provide basic resources which can lead to further investigation. It can help answer some of your questions and explain why each field is important.
- When the Time Comes: This booklet is specifically designed to guide the user through planning their own memorial service. Within its pages the reader will find information such as a standard Order of Service, suggested scriptures and hymns, and answers to commonly asked questions. Planning your memorial service in advance means that the arrangements and service will express the comfort and hope of the Christian faith fully and without compromise.
As we continue to count our days during this pandemic season, I pray that these resources will be helpful as you ask the necessary and sometimes difficult questions about end-of-life care. Please know that you do not ask these questions alone. Your BMPC community is here to support you and guide you along the way.