Friday, December 04, 2009

On Mortality ... Aging and Death

'The Temple of the Mind', By William Pinkham Ryder
(Image Courtesy of

A friend of my says that he is "being forced to reconcile my own mortality."

He recalls, as he watches his father lie in a hospital bed and struggle with recovering from cancer surgery, that "not too long ago he was my age." My friend's illusion of "always being 17" is beginning to crumble.

It IS hard to watch someone that you love suffer and grow old. My paternal grandmother, Dorothy Jeanne, turned 90 this year. She's always been a feisty, independent woman. I've always admired her spirit and sense of adventure. She's been a very important role model, of sorts, for me ... but I hear, in her voice, as we talk these days (on the phone) the tiredness and the frailty setting in. At first, it made me sad to see this remarkable woman begin to fade and slowly slip away. But then, she'll recall some amazing little detail of a time long since past ... something that I, myself, had almost forgotten ... and in that moment I am reminded that the body is but a vessel to house the soul and the mind.  The body is but ours to borrow during this brief journey called life. And though the body may change, eventually growing old and slowly beginning to fade away ... I firmly believe that the mind and soul are eternal.

I take particular comfort in this saying of Jesus:

"And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

—Mark 10:13-16


As we age and our bodies begin to fail, we re-enter that state of child-like innocence and dependence ... and maybe it is that very state that makes us worthy to at last enter the kingdom of heaven ... or whatever you happen to believe in.

Eastern philosophy holds that we should not mourn aging and death. Decay of the body is a natural state. Rather, we should mourn when a soul is born; for life is the hard part. Death is a life's --well led -- reward.

Take heart, Paul. Age IS a state of mind. Some are old at twenty.  Some never grow up. Some are born middle aged ... others, in middle age, are given a chance at rebirth and begin seeing life for all of its infinite possibilities and in doing so, they become wild and free (child-like) and remember how to just be. Close your eyes, Paul, take a deep breath and just be ... the rest will come to you in due time.

May peace fill your heart and light your way.  Enjoy your time this weekend with the precious lights of your life.  : )

God Bless!

Song: 'With Arms Wide Open', By Creed

P.S. I am so relieved to hear that your father's prognosis is good and that he is out of the ICU.  I will keep praying for you both.

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Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts. I'll read them and post them soon! God Bless! M