What if I Had Died?

I used to be afraid of death. After a classmate drowned in the 8th grade, I became so fearful that I woke up every morning and wondered if I would die that day.

photo credit: jc_sharp (creative commons)

photo credit: jc_sharp (creative commons)


I even woke up in the middle of the night once and knocked on my parents’ door because I thought I was going to die. They didn’t wake up, so apparently I didn’t knock hard enough. Turns out I wasn’t dying.

I’m happy to announce that fear is gone. I don’t remember exactly when it went away, but I know it has something to do with Jesus, so I just leave it at that.

In the past, if I was going on a trip somewhere, I would write a letter to those closest to me, explaining if they were reading this letter, then I didn’t make it back home. I wrote a letter to my mom, best friend, and little cousin, Caleb. When I would return home safely, I’d throw the letters away. Weird, I know. (Hey.. I’ve got issues. What can I say?)

When I left for my recent mission trip, I didn’t write those letters. The thought actually didn’t cross my mind. I didn’t fear death either. I was just excited to go where God was leading me. That’s where my focus was.

On the plane home I thought about those letters. Why didn’t I write them? Why didn’t I leave powerful words to be said in case I didn’t return? Because I didn’t need too.

Everything that needed to be said had already been said. 

My parents knew how much they mean to me. I tell them all the time. I didn’t try to throw in a bunch of words prior to leaving to make sure they knew.

Caleb saw me off at the airport and he knew then, as he always has, how important he is to me. We didn’t have tearful goodbyes and “In case I don’t come back, I hope you know how much you meant to me,” words. Instead, we talked about stuff boys like to talk about. Then I hugged him and headed for the plane.

I told a few of my friends I’d see them in a week or so.

I didn’t leave with any regrets. No unforgiveness. I just left. Happy. Ready. Set. Go.

I didn’t have to write those goodbye letters because I’ve been trying to live intentional. 

I tell people how I feel about them when I see them. I don’t wait for a powerful moment. That’s the freedom of living real life.

I used to wait. I told people how I felt about them on special occasions. Or I waited until I was flying to another country to write them a letter telling them everything I should have all along. I’m so glad that’s over.

The fear of death no longer entangles me. Better yet, the fear of real relationships doesn’t either. Thank you Jesus!

Tell those close to you today how you feel about them. Don’t wait for a special occasion. Just do it. Swallow your fear and go for it. You won’t regret it. Be intentional.

If you left today, would those closet to you know how you felt about them? Leave a comment below…

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  • I know close to me would know. I make a point to tell those i love that i do because it’s just an overview of my heart. Great post Sundi Jo.

  • Amanda Sue

    Great Post! And thanks for the reminder to live intentionally. Sometimes I get so caught up in my to-do list that I forget how important those words are. When I am gone not many will remember my list of achievements, but it’s important that those in my life know that I did it all for them and to shine the light of the Lord.

    • You’re so right. I’m constantly having to remind myself, especially when I’m staring at my cell phone while someone is trying to talk to me.

  • Well Sundi Jo, I guess I am not living very intentionally. The last time I flew I left letters for my children and husband in my sock drawer. I tell them all the time I love them, and I know that Jesus has a chair for me at his table.
    I wonder why I still like to leave letters. hmmm?

    • Not sure. Something to think about, eh? Maybe it’s just because, and that’s ok too.

  • Christi Lurk

    As I was packing to move I found letters I had written to you years ago when we were traveling. I wonder why I never threw them away. God is so good. This is the first time I have turned you over to God and never worried the whole time you were gone. I knew without a doubt that he had his arms wrapped around you. I love you bunches, Mom

  • Awesome message about living intentionally. I never wrote letters like that – we lived overseas many years – never thought about it. I wrote TONS of letters though to send back home to family here – guess that is why the written word and expressions of love are so important to me. Thanks, Sundi Jo. Glad you didn’t die yet. 🙂