Today’s Word: ‘Whatever’ as in… do whatever creates thriving lives!

I shared a sweet hour this morning with a dear friend who is dying. She’s living out her last weeks in a beautiful home in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by her husband and some fiercely loyal friends. When I walked into her sun-drenched room, over 20 years of friendship drew us to each other, and after a long embrace, some tears, some laughter, some reflections on life and death, some conversation about a memorial service, we talked about “Whatever.”

In the Christian scriptures, in the book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes to a community of people with some powerful words about how to live well together, how to thrive together. If these were the last words he’d share with them, they would be enough. If these were the last words any one of us spoke to our loved ones, they would be enough. Paul challenges them to live differently; to live every day, every relationship, every decision, indeed, every waking moment in ways that create thriving lives. Paul urges them to pursue a list of ‘whatevers‘:

He writes,

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is reputable, whatever is authentic, whatever is compelling, whatever is commendable, whatever is excellent, whatever is praise-worthy – go after those things with all you’ve got!”

If we were to live by making these ‘whatevers’ central in our lives, a lot would be different. We would be different. The world around us would be different. If we were to weave into our lives whatever is true, honorable, reputable, authentic, compelling, commendable, excellent and praise-worthy, we’d have a whole new context for living in thriving community.

Before I left, I told my friend that we’d be reading these words at her memorial service, that I’d be inviting people to hear them “in her voice” as if she was saying them in that very moment.

When that moment comes, it will be as if these are the last words all of her friends hear her speak.

Whatever they hear will be enough.


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