A powerful lesson I learned on the Camino from a man diagnosed with terminal cancer.
I met a fairly happy man, who cracked a lot of jokes with several newly made friends on the road, who recently retired and was finally getting a long, deserved vacation, but then he told me in private that he had only 3 months to live! I was devastated!
He was keeping a joly facade to make other people happy and would not bother the others about his condition. He was walking the Camino to Santiago as a reflection on his life. He was contemplating on his past experiences.
What did I do right or wrong? What lessons have I learned in this life? Is there anything worthy of a legacy, a reminder of my life after I am gone? Did I love well? Did I serve well? What will people tell about me at the funeral? (I call these the Final Questions)
He also wrote down a list of (old) friends and people he really wanted to see or call during these final weeks…
He knew that after flying back home, he would enter the hospital, never to leave it again. Only painful treatments to prolonge his life were waiting for him. Probably a lot of frustration about how his body was deteriorating and draining his energy. Luckily, his family would support him till the end, but he couldn’t stand the thought of how they would suffer because of him…
To be totally honest, it was rather difficult for me to say or do something useful, besides giving him a lot of love, courage and energy. He made me realise again that life is too short and that we are wasting a lot of time, energy and money on minor things in life…
So, how would you answer your Final Questions?
Take a moment to reflect on them… I am sure something in your mind will change.
Probably needless to say, but my quote grew even stronger:
ENJOY EVERY DAY !!!
Start to wear your best suit today, use your finest dishes, have dinner at that great restaurant, book that trip you’ve been dreaming of, call old friends again, have fun and don’t wait until…yeah, until it’s too late!
great , an outstanding, magical weekend!
PS : for people who where with me on the Camino, you surely understand and respect his wish not to tell his name… Thanks!