Friday, January 3, 2014

A Little Life

As we walk into another year of the 21st century, I am reminded that life can be so fleeting. Many of the living are left behind to endure the painful loss of loved ones year after year.  Death is certain.  When your clock tells the stop-time, there is no cheating death.

During the 19th century, German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said some very wise words that have transcended time.        

 "Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death." 

If we find that we are born a little each day and die a little each night, maybe we'll be conscious enough not to take life for granted and enjoy every day as if it were our last. 

Burying another year and welcoming the New Year 2014, I must say, I'm impacted by some of last year's deaths, more notably Paul Walker and Nelson Mandela. 

The Chicago Tribune stated that no drugs or alcohol were found in the body of actor Paul Walker after a fiery car crash killed him and a friend in November. But they were traveling at 'an unsafe speed, approximately 100+ mph' (according to a coroner's report)

As one who enjoys speeding from time to time, I'm not one to judge. But I am sadden by the loss of a talented young actor who I'm sure, to his family and friends, left more that the "Fast and Furious" blockbuster movies.

Most of you, who have lost a loved one, are aware that death is surreal. Death doesn't play favorites. It took over three years for me to say the words, "I can breathe again." And just when I was learning to breathe again, death knocked on my father's door, taking him away at almost sixty years old.

The loss of a loved one can be devastating, no matter if it's a sudden death or a long drawn-out one. I would be lying if I said the hurt is the same with each death. I believe after a few losses your heart goes numb, not necessarily feeling nothing, but more like learning to survive with all of its punches. Grief knocks the wind out of you and usually we aren't sure if to breathe or to cry out. But when we do catch our breath, we think back on all of the time we spent not living.

Our loved ones wouldn't have wanted us to curl up and die with them. On the contrary, they'd want us to live, to breathe, to dance, to sing, to dream and to believe that there is a purpose even in death. Even if we never know the answers to the 'why's'.

Nelson Mandela also dying in 2013 'never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he never answered racism with racism. His life has been an inspiration to all who are oppressed and deprived. While facing the death penalty his words to the court at the end of his famous ‘Speech from the Dock’ on 20 April 1964 became immortalized:'

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Mandela, like Walker and our loved ones, left behind a legacy, whether big or small. Let us take the time to honor them and our loved ones by keeping their memory and our spirits alive. 

"This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live." Deut.30:19

With this new year comes new possibilities, new hopes and new goals. Let us learn to leave the past in the past and grasp tightly the reins of the future. Let us learn to live and breathe again because merely existing is not an option. We are survivors of loss, sadness and grief. Though, a New day emerges. And it brings with it life and death. Choose Life!

Copyright © 2014 Ellie Kings All Rights Reserved

References: Nelson Mandela and Paul Walker