Perhaps the cruelest fact that we teach our children is that someday they will die, their hearts will stop, and their time on earth will run out. That one piece of knowledge will affect everything they do for their entire lives. Can they really ever be totally happy, joyful, or free, when in the back of their mind they know that they’re dying? The knowledge of death is the spoiler of every happy moment, feeling of love, or new experience. I wonder if mankind would be better off not knowing?
In 1913, two years before Freud had written his essay “On Transience,” he and a debated famous poet (Rilke, most historians believe the poet to have been) were walking on a beautiful summer day in a countryside in bloom. The poet was struck by the beauty surrounding the pair, yet profoundly saddened by the thought that all of creation is destined to disappear. Destruction was already present in him, the moment he contemplated the blooming countryside, mourning is already within him. It is un-resolvable mourning because all living things are moving toward their death before his eyes. Each and every thing is unique and cannot be replaced by anything or anyone else. You start mourning before the death even happens of anything or anyone you love. In 1915 Freud penned “On Transience.”
I always thought I was strange until I read this. I always wondered why love was always bitter-sweet, why a new puppy or kitten brought such joy but distant worry and sadness as well? Is it morbid to think about where diplomas, trophies, and certificates go after people pass? Things that were so important to the living probably end up in the trash after death. Does everyone think this way? Can a person really be free and have complete serenity and joy? Do you think animals know of their own mortality?
Even knowing that our lives have a certain date and a time that everything ends, we still don’t live life to its fullest. Why is that? Why don’t we live each and every day as though it is our last? Why don’t we take more risks, laugh more, smile more, not take ourselves so seriously, love more, enjoy life to the fullest? Why? Why don’t we travel more and see the world, enjoy our loved ones, take more chances, be silly more, appreciate life more?
Should we squeeze our mates tighter? Hold on to our loved ones longer? Stay a little longer when we’re enjoying what we’re doing? Not work so often, or so hard? Should we shake and tremble in fear? Should we just sit and wait for the moment? Maybe we should just ignore the fact? Why do people rush the date and time by committing suicide? Life is so short as it is, why make it shorter? Should we just get drunk or high so we don’t care? Some people do! Do you think any of the priests or nuns are still afraid of death and dying? Are you afraid? If you are afraid, what can you do about it?
Maybe Dylan Thomas had it right! “Do not go quiet into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light!” I agree with Dylan! We should leave a mark on this earth. Leave the young something to remember us by! I often think, what is my legacy going to be? That’s important to me. Then someone says, “Why, everyone and the earth itself have a date and a time just like you!” That’s true, but who knows when that will be? Think about how many lives one person can impact in their lifetime! The number is unimaginable! One person can change the world by what they do and what they say while they are here on earth and their legacy thereafter. I hope that people don’t just waste the gift of life. It seems that so many just throw away so many years on addiction, laziness, or just not caring about anyone or anything. I believe that we are our brother’s keepers.
There are some people who get a special gift. Long ago a carpenter turned out to be very gifted. He was so gifted, that He could heal people. He had a message for the world, but most wouldn’t listen. He said that He was the Son of God, so they crucified Him. He suffered terribly, more then we will ever really know. The thing is, is that it was His date and time. His Father God sent Him to save the World, for those who love and believe in Him will have eternal life. The day Jesus penned “On Eternity.”