Saturday, April 12, 2008

How Shall We Live Our Life?

I recently read a book by Dr. Lawrence Meredith titled "Life Before Death." It was a difficult read. However several of the points have stayed with me and God and I have discussed them on my morning walk. It has been the subject of several walks and so a lot of time has been invested in my discussion. I am never really sure my conclusions are correct, however, I have bounced them off the "expert." No lightening bolts have hit me, so I don't assume they are correct, but I guess they aren't particularly objectionable either.

One of the statements I've been turning to in Dr. Meredith's book is a statement he repeats several times and that is "We live our lives as though we were immortal."

It is a statement that taken out of context can have a lot of implications. I must admit, I am hard put to explain the context in which the statement was made. I took it that we were being chastened for living our lives without passion and emotion. If that is the message from Dr. Meredith then I must beg to differ. I have come in contact with many people in my life time, not scholars debating great topics or learned men or women who have traveled far and wide and observed and participated in many events around the world. Most of my contacts have been with ordinary people who have been struggling with life trying to gain some sense of meaning and purpose. I find many of those people living lives with passion and emotion.

Some years ago there was a fanciful movie I believe it was called "The Dark Crystal." In the movie one of the types of characters, a cyclops, was condemn to know the time and circumstances of their death. One of these types of characters who played an important role had to face his time, knowing he would not survive and in the movie forged on contributing whatever effort and ability he could until his demise. It was heroic.

How else would we live our lives? How would many of us act if we know the date and circumstances of our end? How many of us would try to change the ending? I think on one level we have to live our lives as though we were immortal. It is hard enough to face the possibility of one's mortality, as the possible outcome of a correctable situation, say cancer surgery. Millions have to face the fact that they will die in a few short months, or weeks, and have to accept and/or resign themselves to that outcome. In the meantime, life is a terminal event, we ain't going to get out alive. But if we lived our lives with a sense of impending doom what a dreary lot we would be. I do not think that was Dr. Meredith's meaning, but I also do not think we have to search very far for a consuming passion, or an enriching emotional life that gives us a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. I don't think God's system is set up to make life a drudge.

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