Thursday, 23 October 2008
Guest post submitted by TheSilenceHeals
I've noticed that I think about death a lot - not necessarily in an unhealthy manner, but rather, in a sanctifying manner. It's a little freaky to say, "I'm excited about dying!" so I try to keep it on the down low. Nonetheless, it's true: Death inspires me.
I am homesick. I am keenly aware of the depravity of humanity, the rotting body that imprisons the soul, and the estranged feelings and desires that long for "something than which nothing greater can be thought." (St. Anselm)
Of course, there are extremes that need to be avoided. I could think about the life beyond so much that I become aloof to my purpose in this life. It can become a monstrous daydream. I could become cuckoo for transcendence. Most of these people end up referring to themselves as Jesus or join cults or commit suicide during the passing of a comet in hope of transporting their souls to a spaceship captained by Him.
On the other hand, I could disregard death. I find this to be most common among my peers embedded in the comforts of American society as they pursue fame, fortune, and success. These people think highly of themselves with their charm, degrees, Bentleys, and other worldly things. It's disgusting. I have little tolerance for these human beings.
However, if you hang out with people who have experienced great trials and suffering, in some sense, they always have eternity on their minds. They may reject the idea of a personal God, or they may become bitter and define themselves by their heartache, or they may embrace the providence of the Father's will. I find the latter to be one of the purest forms of beauty that an arrogant human being like myself can encounter. I find it ironic that people who seem to have all the more reason to reject a loving, personal God end up enveloping themselves in his economy of grace. Like Jesus, they suffer well. These people are my heroes.
Don't get me wrong. It's not like I dance at funerals. My fear of losing loved ones is a crippling fear that I struggle to accept. The fact that they are 100% guaranteed to die causes me to lose sleep. I need them. Why is it so easy for me to accept my own death while fear the death of loved ones?
As I meditated on this question, I uncomfortably arrived at a difficult truth. I'm a coward. A person who lacks courage in the face of death as I'd rather selfishly leave this world rather than selflessly endure the heartache and share the pain of God's children. I'm like the soldier who abandons his brothers in the heat of the battle.
To this end, I leave you with the following cry of my heart:
What does it take for me to love someone not because they are mine, but because they are yours?
As the great writer George Macdonald asks: "What is all this life but a waiting?''
How do you feel about death? Do you think about it often?