It’s been almost a year-and-a-half now since I visited my girlfriend in Tennessee. She had lost her husband to cancer about five months before our visit and my husband, John, had just been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. I remember a point in our conversation when she looked at me and said, “If the doctor ever says to you, “Get your affairs in order; don’t wait. Do it right away.” She, unfortunately, had learned from experience that waiting wasn’t a good plan. She didn’t have to convince me. Getting our affairs in order had been on my to-do list long before John got sick. And yet, we hadn’t done it. Technically, we had a will, but it was over 25-years-old and in serious need of some updating.
But wills and business affairs aren’t fun things to think about and somehow, bringing it up immediately after a cancer diagnosis seemed like a bad idea. At that point I wanted John to focus on living, not dying. It was a calculated risk that turned out okay. But, the truth is (and I hate to be blunt about this) no one, young or old, has a promise of tomorrow. Personally, I’d much rather have my “affairs” in order than leave my family to figure it all out. Thus, we recently made an appointment with an attorney and drew up our will.
I have to admit it was even less fun than I thought it would be, but I only cried once! I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think attorneys take classes in dealing with weepy women. They probably aren’t schooled in helping a husband and wife come to a joint decision either. Really, they aren’t well-trained to deal with people like us! Despite our poor attorney’s lack of practical training, we made it through the process and for that we’re all grateful.
Why am I writing about this today? Because, my friend, it is important to “get your affairs in order.” I currently have at least two friends who are in a dispute with their siblings over their parent’s affairs. How sad it that? When our attorney told us fights between siblings happen all the time I explained I couldn’t fathom that happening in our family. And I really can’t. But, he assured me it does happen even in the best of families. (Note to my children: I WILL find a way to come back and slap you silly if I get wind of such nonsense!)
But that’s not the only reason to make a will. I know this isn’t fun stuff to think about but it’s only fair to your family to do the hard thing. For instance, if you have small children, who will care for them in the event of an unforeseen tragedy? Who will get any money you might leave behind? Who will get the proceeds from the sale of your possessions? Do you own a business? What’s going to happen to that? Do you want your church to be the beneficiary of any of your account? Here’s what’s important to realize – if you don’t make these decisions, someone, most likely the courts, WILL make them. And, while I’m sure the judges want to be fair in their decisions, I really don’t want to leave it all in their hands, do you?
Let me tell you, making these decisions is much easier when you aren’t staring death in the face. You’ll have time to talk about it, share your wishes with your family, and have some peace over how you’ve left things. It’s totally worth doing the “un-fun” thing.
I think sometimes we tend to shy away from talking about the tough stuff because we believe by ignoring it nothing bad can possibly happen. While no one likes to lose a loved one, death is never a bad thing for the one who knows Jesus and is meeting Him face to face. And once you start talking about it the discussions come easier and seem more like a normal part of life. We spend our lives planning for so many things: our education, our employment, our family, our vacations, and our finances. So really, planning for our last days should be just one more part of the plan.
I’d encourage you to pray about how you want to leave your family when that time comes. Having a will in place, allowing others to know your desires regarding your assets, is a great gift. An even greater gift would be letting them know that you will be spending eternity with Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior here’s a good place to find information on how to start a relationship with him.
Please don’t delay on either of those two things.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Nancy loves to laugh and considers laughter a critical part of human survival. If you were to ask, most days she would say her glass is half full but when it starts reaching the half-empty level, she reaches for a funny book or movie knowing that indeed “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Nancy has three married sons and five grandchildren. To read more from Nancy find her at www.nancyholte.com.