It is not the dying we fear…its the absence of that animated, wonderful person we knew our whole life. It is not the dark we fear, but absence of light. It is a loved one going on a trip, alone, and the knowledge that in this life, we will not be able to hug them, kiss them, talk with them. Although my personal belief is that there is a Heaven awaits, the analytical part of me says, what if you are wrong. As summer turns into autumn, as green leaves turn to brown, as the earth goes from hot to cold, so is our life. A journey we are forced to take, with many different forks off the main road, each one perhaps being for the better, or for the worse. But, the journey has an end, and that end is either a true end, or it is a door to yet another life, where people look in their 30s, more beautiful than ever before. Funerals, obituaries, wakes, have nothing to do with the dead, but everything to do with the living. They memorialize the end of a life that, for good or bad, has a period placed on it.
For hundreds of thousands of years, mankind has grappled with this thing called “death”. The Egyptians had a whole book about it, about the challenges a soul would meet…the ancient Israelis thought we ALL went to a place called sheol….both the good and bad alike. For some, death is the most feared of all possible events, second only to public speaking. But, rationalize it, ignore it, build elaborate stories about it…it is that moment when we pass from this world, to whatever world lies beyond. Atheists may indeed be right, that its like the turning off of a light switch, but four decades ago, I had an experience that no one talked about back then, and without going into details, if that is our final destination, there is nothing to fear, on the contrary, something to be looking forward to. Bottom line, death is seen as a dark, foreboding place where the creatures in our nightmares may await for us, to torture us for eternity without end.
But, be that as it may…it is important to live your life in kindness, with ethicality, with integrity, doing good for others, not for what you might get in return, but because in your heart, you know it’s the right thing to do.
Ive instructed my loved ones I want to be cremated…and that no mourning or sadness be shown, because I truly feel, I am going home. I will not be unhappy, and neither should they. For, the only thing to be sad about, regarding your life, is when you knowingly, and without provocation, wronged a person, hurt an animal, just to get pleasure from it. It is not what we did that we regret often, as much as what we failed to do…failing to do enough, failing to stand up for someone being bullied..failure to tell that person you loved them, or failing to treat your spouse or parents with love, respect, or courtesy. Toward that, I offer these versions of the same song:
PAUL THORN (Writer)
and Janiva Magness
Paul Thorn (writer)
So, live your day as one you can be proud of…one that is an example for other good people. Do what good you can, be honest, loyal, courageous, generous, in short, live a life you can be proud of…and one your loved ones can be proud of.