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20160219_180608Have you thought much about the fact that you will eventually die? Emily Dickinson was quite insightful when she mused:

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

I’ve thought on the subject. When it will occur doesn’t concern me as much as you might think, although I do wonder where it will transpire and in what form it will approach me.

It is all but mathematically certain that the location will be one of three places as they relate to my vocation: the church, a hospital, or a member’s home. These are the places where I spend most of my days, and combined, they often bear such an incredible gravity that I’m very certain years are being peeled from my lifespan.

Of the three, it’s most likely that Death’s carriage will arrive for me at the church. For the sake of the people I serve, I hope it doesn’t pull up in the middle of a sermon or while teaching a Bible study. Even though Death comes for all, it remains alien to most. To visit its aftermath at a funeral home is one thing. To witness it take its last few stalking steps is quite another. I’ve been present at such an event many, many times in my life. As a Christian, I have an unconquerable hope in the face of death, nevertheless it remains a pointed and uneasy reminder to “self” that “you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

How it will happen has me curious. Most likely it will be an aneurism brought on by stress during a Church Council meeting, but I’m hoping it will be a little more exciting than that. Maybe I’ll be mopping the church floor and I’ll slip and fall and die at the foot of the Lord’s altar. That would be okay. Or maybe I’ll fall from the choir loft head first into the Baptismal font below. Who knows?

“Death has a thousand doors to let out life: I shall find one.” Ah, ’tis true, Mr. Massinger. ’Tis true.

Alas, if perhaps one day the Lord arrives in my chamber and enquires, “Dear child, your days are nearly complete and the clock will soon cease to tap for you. What is your preference then for that final hour?”

I know what I would say, and it would roll forth from my lips without hesitation.

“Gracious Lord,” I’d offer, head lowered before the Creator, “I am heartily unworthy to ask anything of You, and so if it pleases you, let me die in my bed…which if it also pleases you, would happen to be a bed in a cottage overlooking a Scottish loch, no matter the one, with a dram of fine Scotch whisky in my hand, having just finished eating a medium-rare steak after finally getting that ride in an F-15 that I always wanted. Oh yeah, and my bride and children would be at my side.”

Angelsportion Shack by the Loch

“How about I just give you a nudge when you’re up in the choir loft, and I make sure that your family is at your bedside in the hospital? We have great whisky, fine lochs, and wonderful beef in heaven. And I heard that James and John, the Zebedee boys, just placed an order for an F-22 Raptor. There’s a reason those boys were called ‘the sons of thunder’ in Mark 3:17, you know.”

“Sure, Lord. As it pleases you.”

This aforementioned discourse is unlikely to happen, and yet even as the Lord is omniscient and already knows the contours of my preferences, if He changes his mind and decides that my request is in perfect alignment with His will, then I wonder which whisky will be in my hand when I breathe my last.

This Wemyss Malt called “The Hive” isn’t too bad, although it probably wouldn’t be my first hope.

With a name like “The Hive” you can probably guess what to expect from the whisky. And you’d be right. Its air is awash in the bees’ business, conferring alongside it a sweet track of assorted sweets – whipped cream and grains spritzed with brown sugar.

You might want to have a cup of coffee on hand while you sip this blended release. It is just as sweet to the palate as it is to the nose, gathering all of the highlights from a fruit-covered stack of pancakes drenched in butter and maple syrup.

The whisky gives a medium finish to all that the palate discerned, and it is one that pairs well with and is easily tempered by a cup of black coffee. As you can see, I stand by the fact that you’ll need it.

Now, promise me something, will you?

If you happen to be around at my last and you see that my children have played a joke upon their frail father by pouring Scoresby as his final dram, call my lawyer so that I can make a few quick changes as it pertains to them, and then be sure to swap the glass with another more suitable. Don’t feel as though you need to reach for this particular Wemyss Malt. Perhaps something from The Balvenie, or maybe a stiff rock glass filled with Laphroaig. Either of these have the potential to add a few hours to my mortal existence. That alone would be a kindness on your part worthy of my whisky collection, and I’d have enough time to make it so with the Lawyer.