Dylan Thomas begins his powerful and most popular poem “Do not go gently into that good night” with these lines –
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
[You can read the rest of the poem HERE]
I am told that he wrote the poem as his own father was facing death. It is a plea to push back against death with all the force and vengeance we can muster.
This poem has been on my mind lately because of my own father. Partly because I want him to push back against this stroke and live on another day. There is another part to his story that is important for you to know. On May 5th my dad will turn 80 years old. He has now suffered a heart blockage, a massive heart attack, a heart surgery and now a stroke. He is old and well advanced in years and has every reason to sit back and let the light of his life slowly die. But …
I sat in his chair, as in no one else sits there when he is in the house, on Sunday night. I looked over to the left side of his chair at the end table that is pushed up against the wall. There I noticed several pages of hand written notes. I picked them up and began to look at them because I knew they were in my dad’s handwriting. It was pages and pages of notes on the gospels. My mom said, “It was his Sunday School lesson for Sunday.”
My dad had been working on putting together his Sunday School lesson right up until the night before his stroke. Then a thought his me like never before, “What will I be found doing with my final hours?” Now, I am thankful those were not my dad’s final hours and there appears to be more chapters written in his life. I did not know that at the time. So I wondered, what will my final actions in this life reveal about me?
While my dad had every right to sit back and just coast through these last few years, he has chosen not to. Instead he has chosen to continue serving as long as his light burns. I know one thing about my dad, he will not go gentle into that good night. He will burn and rave and … he will be teaching – Teaching the good news of Jesus.