Why worry about dying?

“Some day a company of men and women will process off to a church and lower a coffin and everyone will go home, but one will not come back, and that will be me.” – Karl Barth. Karl Barth was acknowledging with his comment the inevitability of his own death. How many of us think about our deaths? Perhaps it seems morbid to reflect on death, but death will come whether you want to think about it or not.

Each day the papers and news bring us a slew of deaths. Some if not most are unpredictable and tragic. Many are testimony to the seemingly endless cruelty of man to his or her own kind. However, reading about the deaths of others is not the same as thinking about your own death. To some extent our fascination with the deaths of others is a way of avoiding thinking about our own deaths. When we are young we think we will live forever. Many of us continue to avoid the issue of death until perhaps it is staring us in the face. We want to deny that we get old. We deny that we are loosing our youth. We deny that we need to watch our weight and our health. Aging is a very gradual process that seems to be marked by a series of losses until one day we lose life itself. We may never know it until it is too late to think about it. What good will it do you to worry about something that is inevitable?

For me, thinking about my death is not a process for dealing with death as much as it is a process for dealing with life. I set my goals and compass knowing full well that death could come at any moment. I make my amends and ask my forgiveness from others knowing that tomorrow might be too late. I don’t put off the things I want to do in life because the time might not be there to do them in the future. There is a saying that I try to live by. It goes as follows: “live each day as though it may be your last, but spend your money as though you will live forever.” The life we live can be one of quality or it can be one of fear and despair. As Caesar said “Cowards die many times before their deaths, the brave die only once.”

Will you be ready for death when it comes? If you were to die today, would you be satisfied with the life you have lead? Could you leave this earth and look back down with the feeling that you left it a better place? Could you say you have done your best? Did you leave with only friends and no enemies? What would it take to change your life now so that you are ready to go, whenever death comes calling?

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