|Photo by Silke Schmidtchen|
You think you have time.
-- From Buddha's Little Instruction Book by Jack Kornfield
Love Among Mortals
Facing Death is transformative.
Somewhere, in the back of our minds, we all know - in a general kind of way - that we are mortal. But then a moment comes when we look Death in the eye and know it for ourselves... for our Beloved... and that knowledge becomes both specific and immediate.
For me, such a moment marks the very beginning of our One Precious Life.
As sailors in a wild and wooly place, Anke and I live with perhaps a better view of Death than many. We often sail near the edge, and far from any hope of help should we fail dangerous.
This last autumn, we had a wild passage, where Death was grinning over our shoulders right along, breathing down our necks. It started with a small thing - a jammed block. So many deadly outcomes are the end of a series of small steps inching, then leaping toward disaster. We were able to manage our issues and all was, in the end, well.
But it was another reminder that - even in the mundane day to day - Death can come for us.
And now Plague walks all the lands of the world.
A time of pandemic binds us all in a moment of the awareness of our mortality. The last century has brought humanity a growing understanding of disease in its causes and cures. Yet we remain stubbornly mortal, and a tiny molecular machine - devoid of hope or malice - reminds us collectively of that fact.
For some, inevitable Death sucks all meaning from Life. For others - count me among them - Death is that dark background against which all life is luminous. It's proximity reminds us to live. NOW.
And what is the one thing worthwhile? That one thing to pursue with all the resource of our One Precious Life?
If you ask me, it's Love.
Power? Pffffft. Fame? Sic transit. Stuff? Can be useful but can own us and weigh us down. Wealth? You know what it can't buy.
We think we have time... let's assume we don't, and start loving.
Happy Valentines Day, all ye Young Lovers!
(And that includes you, my fellow Elder Farts!)