Death in the background

October 10, 2011

This morning, while sifting through Facebook, I came across two posts, from two friends, from two perspectives, at which all of us will at some point will be standing.

One friend was celebrating this heart beat, loving life in the here and now.  She was “toeing the line” as Thoreau would put it.  She is in a season of “sucking the morrow from the bone of life,” (again Thoreau) She’s all in, and lovin’ it.

My second friend is in the process of a long goodbye.  She is losing someone about whom she cares, but does not necessarily feel reciprocation.  Sometimes that happens because there  truly were no good feelings or memories,  sometimes because of unforgiveness and sometimes it happens because of deteriorated memories.  Regardless of the reason it hurts like crazy nonetheless.

One friend walking the line close to death because she is living so fully, and one walking the line close to death because, well, there is no easy way to say this, because someone she cares about is just about completely used up.  Spent.

Most of us live most of the time with death in the background.  We know it’s there, know that we will have to deal with it, but not today.  I think that’s okay.  Maybe.  But we will all at some time (many times, more likely) will have to live with death knocking at our door, or the door of someone who matters to us.

I think (I’m no expert here, I’m just thinking out loud.) that there might be a third alternative.  (Maybe even a fourth, a fifth and a sixth as well, but in these moments I can only think of a third.)  The third alternative is to live, one heartbeat at a time as we try to synchronize our pulse with that of Our Father.  To know that we are alive and at the same time heading towards The Land of the Living.  To toe that line, seize the day, live the abundant life because of what the future holds, not in spite of it.  In so doing we are more likely to bring others along.

Loving memories are a wonderful thing.  But so are loving longings.  Our memories are half of what makes life worth while.  I take that back, they are a third, at best.  Living in this moment is also part of the equation of an abundant life; a big part of the equation.  And looking forward with hope that won’t disappoint is also a part we cannot ignore.  Looking forward informs our decisions for today.  Looking forward inspires us to live lives of value and worth.

I hope both of my friends can look forward with hope today.

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