Dr Pamela Prince Pyle

Facing Your Fears on Death and Dying Part 4

Martin Luther once said, “Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.” I’ve shared with you in the series, Facing Your Fears About Dying and Death,  an unhealthy fear, the healthy fear, the biology of fear, and most recently the fears associated with the dying process.

 I pray that you feel less alone in your dying. However, fear of death, the taking of your final breath is deeply dependent upon what you believe about what happens next. 

Science will hope to convince you that fear of death is irrational as you return to matter from whence you came. Therefore, consciousness and unconsciousness no longer exist outside of your brief lifespan. You are merely one existence that hopefully contributes to survival of our human species.  

Psychology will hope to convince you that you slip into death much like you slip into sleep. You may find comfort in an article such as this one, which declares that what we imagine about death is so much greater than the reality.

Philosophy will hope to convince you that fear of death is the matter which defines all human behavior. Those who philosophize about such matters report themselves to be immune to the fear of our common destiny.  Epicurus reiterated Socrates belief,  “ … the true philosophers are ever studying death; to them, of all men, death is the least terrible.” You may find comfort in studying death as an antidote to the fear that has become your shadow as days grow short. 

Religion, or most religions, will hope to convince you that the fear of death and in fact, death itself can be overcome with the right words, the right actions, or the right enlightenments. Falling short of the minimum amount of rights or righteousness leads to another spin on the hamster wheel or far worse. 

Yet, with all of this convincing, you wake up to find yourself drenched in sweat having found yourself just outside the arms of Death’s reach. You wearily arise hoping to be convinced some more. 

The Root Cause

When we are born, deep in our souls is an unmet need. We may ignore it, reject it, cover it with the glitters of this world, or ashes of sorrow, and sometimes the hubris of knowledge. In my own life, I used each of these false gods to find comfort and success. From a spectator’s perspective, I had succeeded, overcame, and was winning. 

I was not! 

I ran fast and hard to fill this unmet need until I stood on the precipice of the edge of the world and peered over the edge into nothingness. I was thirty-four. 

I knew in that moment, the depth and breadth of my unmet need, and it felt like I would surely die with this gaping hole in my heart. I cried out to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior. I knew His name because of my husband Scott, but He knew mine since before time. 

“Lord, Lord, will you save me? I need your peace. I have never had peace. I am so, so, sorry for hating you and choosing everything but you, will you please forgive me?

The sensation of love with a gentle shower of peace came over me. Each time I remember that day, I relive the emotion of what it feels to be whole for the first time. I was dead, but then I lived. 

This week I opened my Bible randomly and this scripture passage reminded me of that day. Perhaps, it will remind you of your first day of being made whole, or perhaps you will experience your first day of having that unmet need met today.

“The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; 

I was overcome by sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord;

 ‘O Lord, save me!’ The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. 

The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. 

Psalm 116: 3-6

A Challenge

I am not here hoping to convince you to take my path that is devoid of fear of death. However, I am here to challenge you if you are experiencing fear of death. Remember this quote by Martin Luther, “Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.”

I challenge you to face your fear of death by exploring what you believe. For the truth is, you will only have the days, weeks, months, and years before that final goodbye sigh to determine what you believe. After that sigh, the choice is gone. 

If you have questions, use the contact form at www.drpamela.com and I promise to answer them to the best of my ability and when I can’t answer, I will find someone who can.

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