And to know that, in some way,
is the defining mark of our humanity.
To know that something will endure without us,
that life will go on…
Somehow this terrifies us …
That those we leave behind may not remember us.
Will they live as though I was?
Will they carry me in their hearts?
And yet, our mortality is also our glory.
Our fragility, our beauty.
Do you even truly see a flower …unless you see that it will pass away?
If we can’t accept our own future end,
how present to life can we even be?
So I sometimes tuck my kids in at night reminding myself
…they will die. They will breathe a last breath.
Kiss kiss. Smelling their skin. Cuddling their little bodies.
Gently touch my eyelashes to their cheeks.
Kiss kiss kiss.
you think that I’m morbid.
But these are actually the notions of being in your right mind..
Like it or not, we bring babies into a world where they will die.
Because to live and to love is worth it all. And death is the price of admission.
We all think too highly of our importance. What foolishness.
The truth is less sexy.
You don’t matter that much.
A bitter pill.
But like broccoli seeds and a kale salad, a healthy habit.
This is why illness is often what awakens the human soul.
Rouses it from the living tomb of modern life.
Illness screams at you, “it was always temporary!!!”
My 5 year old son, Ace, thinks he sees people who have died in cloud formations.
I don’t correct him. How would I know, anyway?
Yesterday he was looking up exclaiming in wonder how many people have died before us. I like his humble posture. Seems like wisdom to me.
Without that, we get not only narrow-minded, but vulnerable to a painful grief when life inevitably smacks us upside the head. Sometimes grief is simply realizing you’ve been treating life with a smug entitlement. You’ve been on the take. The first line of “Lament for a Son” by Nicholas Wolterstorff (which he wrote after the accidental death of his son) begins;
“we took him too much for granted”.
Grief rattles us free of our coma to tasting what a gift it all has been.
Religion often conceals this truth or worse, distorts it.
One particular reading of the Christian story claims that death is a punishment.
That humans are aliens on the earth.
That you don’t belong here.
That you are innately broken.
Death feeds everything that lives. It is a gift.
Humans are not simply from the earth, but we are OF the earth.
You belong here. Deeply.
And while you may not be flawless,
your basic nature is of a fundamental wholeness.
You are the elemental descendant of ancestral stars, long since dead.
You are not IN an ecosystem, you are a part of one.
You are not on a journey toward becoming whole, you are waking up to your innate wholeness.
So take a deep breath and remind yourself that… one day, it will be your last.
See the flower that is your life, because it will pass.
And then go out and
Love like it’s going to end.
Because it is.