26 April 2012

Right between the Eyes

Sometimes death comes up and smacks you right between the eyes.  It happened to me today, reminding me of some very important truths in life.  Truths that have to do with the fact that this life will one day end, for all of us, and with the idea that if we’re going to be satisfied and content with what we’ve done with our lives once death comes, it’s important that we spend our right nows doing things that will make us satisfied, or just being people with whom we’ll be satisfied on that day when death comes calling for us.

If I want to be content with all that I’ve done on the day I die, then I need to make positive choices today about what I’m doing today and tomorrow.  Is what I’m doing contributing in positive ways to the lives of others?  Will this next action of mine contribute to the peace and hope of the world, or the anger and frustration?

If I want to have a sense of peace on my deathbed (assuming I die in bed!), then I need to be sure that I do things that will bring me–and others–peace.  Starting or continuing arguments will never do that, nor will gossiping or spreading rumors.  Encouraging others and giving them praise, on the other hand, will.

If I want to have no regrets when I’m ready to pass on, then I need to take risks and do things that I dream of doing.  I can’t live safely inside of an artificial shell that is supposed to protect me–that’s the kind of protection that harms me more than it helps me.  Risk is a major ingredient of a fulfilling life, and the lack of risk gives us a life with no seasoning at all–just blandness and boring tastes.

I was reminded today that death will come.  If I keep that fact in mind, I can live my life so that it won’t really matter when it does–I’ll be ready to move on and willing to let go of a life that I’ve lived fully, rather than kicking and scratching to hold on to it in order to get again the chances to do so many of the things that I didn’t do when I had the chances to do them in the first place.  Which way would you prefer to go?

Death twitches my ear.
“Live,” he says, “I am coming.”


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