We often think of life as preceding death. First you live and then you die. But death also precedes life. It’s a circle, not a line.
The rhythm of seasons, sunrise and sunset, waking and sleeping, show us this pattern. Our very cells die and are made new. The food we eat, once living, died to sustain our lives.
We see this pattern every day, every hour almost and yet we resist death. Why?
If we view our lifetime as a line that starts and stops at discrete points we will fear death because we don’t know what exists beyond the edges. How can we trust what we don’t know?
In Carl Honoré’s book, In Praise of Slow, he says the Inuit of Canada’s far north use the same word, “uvatiarru”, to mean both in the distant past and in the distant future. They understand that
time is always coming as well as going. It is constantly around us, renewing itself, like the air we breathe.
My grandmother died recently. And what I was filled with at her passing was not fear, but gratitude and joy. I exist because she lived. Like all my ancestors, I owe my life to her being and her living.
When someone dies we have the opportunity to engage in the fluidity of living, in the circular nature of life. Because death is not the end.
The deepest truths of spiritual traditions speak to this natural reality, which is what you see in the story of Jesus.
This first-century Jewish man taught us that we can trust the pattern we observe in the natural world. Out of death comes life. This is ultimate reality.
We know that death is ahead for every one of us. It’s part of the circle that none of us escape. But what if life exists on the other side of death just as the natural world teaches us.
Do we fear that the sun won’t rise in the morning? What is there to fear in death?
Join me in this episode as I pay honour to my grandmother’s life, remember my son’s birth and the fear that gripped my heart in that life-altering event, and consider what insight we might gain, as an affirmation of what we already observe, in the story of a guy named Jesus.
Media & Resources mentioned in this episode:
Music: “The Birth and Life” and “Low Tide” by Be Still the Earth.
(a poem by Robert Friend)
They tell me I am going to die
Why don’t I seem to care?
My cup is full. Let it spill.