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


Hector Agosto said...

May 2014 bring many great things for you Ellie and all those who read your words.

At times loss can help us remember how fleeting life can be. I can also remind us to take advantage of every day and live it to its fullest.

It can remind us to speak the words we procrastinate to say to the ones we love. It can remind us to move and do the things we need to do in order to live and and fly higher than our current state.

I look forward to everything that this new year brings.

Thank you for sharing your words. May 2014 bring you many great blessings.

Ellie Kings said...

Hector- Losing someone whether in death or any other way changes your life. But we survive and move forward, God willing. Thank you for reading and may you also have a happy new year filled with fulfilled dreams and promises.

Steve E said...

I believe it is age which bring the reality of death into my psyche, and when people (my age, 80) die, it is rather expected than a surprise...the same when one day I no longer appear at my daily morning meeting. An empty chair, for a few days.

Of course, the losses you describe are far more than just "another guy", but "giving" people, prominent people, who the world mourns.

I now go to rest and sleep, but not a "little death" as
Schopenhauer wrote--grin!

All that been said,

Steve E said...

FOrgot to say, I rode 110 mph on my bike (sober, of course!), and yes, it is TOO fast. That was about a year ago--never again...on onl
y two wheels.

Ellie Kings said...

Steve-Whatever am I going to do with you? You always crack me up with your funny comments. Happy New Year and may 2014 bring you a new set of wheels :)

thisisme said...

Hallo Ellie. Always good to see you here. I am so sorry that you lost your father at such a young age. (I say that, because I will be 67 this year, and almost 60 is far too young to go). I wish you a happy and healthy new year, and I hope that it will be filled with many blessings for you. I always enjoy your posts. You are wise beyond your years!

Ellie Kings said...

Happy New Year Diane! I agree sixty is way too young. May this new year open new doors for you and may it bring with it lots of joy for you and your family, oh and thanks for the compliment sweetie!

Holly_D said...

Great and wise words, Ellie. Thank you. It's important to never take life for granted, and be reminded as such. Have a happy new year!

Ellie Kings said...

Thank you Holly! In this New Year I hope all your resolutions are accomplished and your dreams fulfilled. God bless!