I’ve been thinking about life, and death a lot lately. I suppose it’s natural as we age, or perhaps it’s natural when we live with those with chronic, debilitating health issues.

My entire life I’ve heard the oft parroted phrase, death is a part of life. For me it was always one of those “duh” moments. I mean, we all know death happens so the saying seemed like a platitude, words that were supposed to bring comfort but repeated so often they lost their meaning. However, as I’ve aged I’ve come to have a better grasp of the profound truth those words carry. Death is a part of living, just like birth, death is inevitable, natural and expected, and it happens to all of us sooner or later. Though I think we all imagine in some small space of our heart that we will be the exception, or that the time will be so far in the future we won’t mind when the time comes.

But like birth it can come ‘prematurely’ . . . and while we hope it goes smoothly, without too much pain or complications, we simply don’t know. When I think about birth, about our beginning, I wonder where we were, where our life force, our souls were prior to birth. And I wonder if we return to that same place after death, and if so, do we recognize it? Is it like coming home after a long arduous journey? Is it instantly comfortable, or like our birth, do we kick and scream and protest the loss of our current life? Have you ever looked at a newborn face? A tiny babe seems stunned at the experience of birth, shivering and crying over the loss of the warm cocoon it has nestled in for the past 40 weeks. And I wonder if it will be the same when we die.

Our life here, in this world, shouldn’t be about petty things and jealousies. It shouldn’t be filled with ‘one-up-man-ship’ and competition. Life is a journey, not a race, and jealousy is a waste of energy. Don’t allow petty slights or grudges to take up space in your heart, open your mind to new knowledge, to growth and know that often all that we’ve held to be true, may be like the saying above about death was for me. I knew the words, but I had never embraced their full meaning. There is much in life that should engender a deeper meaning, be open to accepting that. Be confident in the flawed, wonderful being that you are, for we are all just as God chose us to be.

And at the end of your life, the size of your home or the car you drive won’t matter. Nor will the amount of money in your bank account. Those things might make your life a little more comfortable or a little less stressful on this side, but they won’t buy you more time, and they won’t bring you comfort on the other side. It’s the size of our hearts, the amount of love, forgiveness and generosity we have given that will go with us at the end.

So as you give Thanks this year, be grateful if you are sharing it in a warm space, with plenty of food, surrounded by those you love, for many are not. If you are comfortable and cared for, if there’s laughter and togetherness, know that you are wealthy and richly blessed. And if you find it hard to put aside small annoyances, just imagine your life without them. That sobering thought often makes those flaws and irritations seem oddly human, and small by comparison. In your heart, carry the love and Joy found in these shared moments. Cherish our differences, embrace our sameness, forgive often, and love deeply, because truly, overnight your world can change.

I found this on the web, posted by Friar Jim Van Vurst at https://blog.franciscanmedia.org/

“One common misperception is that death is something dreadful that takes life away. Death is neither something nor someone that acts upon us. It is, rather, the moment when we transition from our life in earth time into timeless eternity. When we die, we gather all of our life’s moments as we give ourselves to our Creator.”

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