This post was inspired by a challenge that the members of our Youth Ministry at Church are doing. We are challenged to think about such an enormous platform for wisdom, that of the inevitability of death. We are asked to take a few silent moments in our busy lives to ponder over these things; but we all know I can’t do just “a few silent moments.” Haha. So, I have undertaken this enormous topic in the only way I know how.
In the same way that most countries celebrate an “Independence Day,” or “Remembrance Day,” or “Armistice Day,” I have noted a particular day of personal liberation. It was on April 7, 2009 that I understood, to a great extent, how limited and unlimited our lives are. I wrote a note in commemoration of this momentous occasion, titled, “The first lesson that should be taught to a human being.”
It’s a frustrating thing that our world has tainted the notion of death and has given it a perilous face. It has been characterized in a scary way: a harsh black cloak smelling of decay, covering all except a gaunt, white face, with never-ending pools of black nothingness for eyes, and scaly hands with rotting nails. This death character wields an all-powerful scythe that severs life at will and without a care.
Death is nothing of this scary sort. We are so obsessed with judging things for being good or bad, or right or wrong. Death is simply – death. It is a fact as inevitable as breathing air. Death is beyond our control. When this thought settled in my mind, I was liberated. I was no longer fearful of death. I really found a segment of peace that day.
I truly believe that that moment of clarity was given to me by God. Whenever we have these, it really feels like a wind just sweeps over our entire being, and all of the thoughts settle in our minds. We are at ease, and we are at home. One day, out of nowhere, this thought came to bear, “The wind of God is peace.” During these sacred moments, it really feels like we are exactly where we’re supposed to be, safely sheltered in our Creator’s palm, as he blows his wind of tenderness and love. Simultaneously, during these moments of infinite wisdom, we are presented, in optimum clarity, with the question: What should I do with my life?
The beauty of life and the love of God are infinite. So much so that He gave us freedom of will. While He knows exactly what he wants for us, and that he wants us to be happy, he left it as our choice to decide how to expend our lives. What a God, eh? And so as the death fact became evident, so did I come to realize that time is of the essence. Every single moment of our lives could be our last, and we don’t know when we will be taking our last breath. The only thing we have absolute control over is how we will spend the “now.” Do I want to contribute, instead of being dead-weight? If so, what can I do right now. Do I want to be known as a loving person? Then, I have to love now. Do I want to be a good friend? A good son? A good teacher? A good citizen? Then right now, I can start by choosing to act out of love, be a good friend, be a loving son, share my truth and experience, be of service. This is a truth more powerful than a gun, and no one can take this away from me.
I have to say that I have not always acted out of this understanding. It’s because of this crucial point: understanding and doing are completely different things. It requires every ounce of our strength and moral character to be absolute ambassadors of love, because life is unpredictable at the best of times. We will continue to face challenges, in form of a person who is showering us with hate, or the tragic death of a loved-one. We equally have no control over both of these things. I do not intend to minimize the gravity of these challenges, and in fact I honour them all for what they are. But even during these times of tumult, our capacity to make the choices and act in the now do not leave us.
At this point in time, I am pledging one thing, and one thing only. Realizing that we are only “mists” that leave this earth at a time unbeknownst to us, I want to affirm to you my commitment to love. If I fail to carry out this mission, even in the most minute form, I invite you to inform me. The thing is, I realize that I’m not alone in life. In fact, today I became acutely aware of how much I need people – you! – and how much people make me happy. In turn, I will strive to honour your truth, and at the same time act out of love toward you. Finally, I choose to use my life as a testament of my gratitude to God, for endowing me with… everything.
Friends, just a tid bit, below’s a picture of the statue of Christ the Redeemer, in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where we’ll be going in 2013.
For now, I wish you all the best, and implore you to open your mind and heart, so that you could find your own moment of peace in God’s palm, and join all of us who have been there in our journey to spread love.