…But the ultimate escape from our failings and disappointments. What is life but our striving to overcome our disappointments and failings and to reach the perfection of our eternal selves within the constraints of this physical world? When we are sad or hurt or overwhelmed by the problems confronting us death beckons as a final solution to our despair. But there is no resolution in death. We do not wake up on the other side brand new beings completely free of our past as if God waved his magic wand and created a new life. We wake up in the same life, with the same soul, with the same past. Only our perception changes. The problems we thought insurmountable may suddenly seem a little silly in the viewpoint of eternity. We may perhaps be a little more understanding of others when our eyes and hearts are open to their side of things. We may be willing to give even ourselves a break when we understand things a little better.
Perhaps you’re familiar with the old advice when you’re anxious about something to ask yourself if you’ll still be as worried about the problem currently confronting you a year from now, or a decade from now. What about a lifetime from now?
The past is called past for a reason. It is done. It cannot be undone, done over or done again. We cannot go back and unmake decisions we made years ago or even yesterday. We cannot recall unkind words back into our mouths or retrieve the e-mail we wrote in haste. We cannot take back the lost opportunity we regret not taking advantage of, or go back and take the other fork in the road we wish now we had chosen back then. Let the past rest in its yesterdays and graveyards. For the two are synonymous. What is past is dead and cannot be resurrected.
Life is now. Life is this moment. Life is the opportunities we are presented with today and those we are creating for ourselves for our tomorrows. When we dwell in the past we immerse ourselves in death, in what was but can never be again. No matter how wonderful or how dreadful our past accomplishments and failings, they are behind us now. It is time to choose a new way, to create ourselves anew.
Life expands. Death contracts. Life gives. Death takes. Life is open to ever new possibilities for ourselves. Death tells us the best of who we are or ever will be is already behind us.
Life demands we constantly renew ourselves. When we stop growing, when we stop finding joy and new possibilities in the gifts of the universe, we are telling our souls we no longer find this life supportable and it is time for us to die. But there is no true escape from life in death.
Death is more like the ultimate long weekend or summer recess. It is a time for reflection. A time to consider what we learned in this life, where we went wrong, which way we would choose if we had to do it all over again. Not that anyone would ever actually choose to go back and do it all over again. Why would they? We already did that. And there are infinite possibilities we’ve yet to experience. The death of our physical selves is life’s reminder of its eternal nature. You can pause. You can rest. You can reflect. You can contemplate and meditate. But there is no escape from life.
Life is and always will be. So why not choose today to stop dying and start living.