Recently I was asked on a social media platform the following question:
“If there is suffering and death ahead of me, why should I want to live?”
(Author’s note: I’m paraphrasing a bit. I don’t remember the exact question)
I was intrigued that someone would need to ask such a question, then I recognized that this isn’t an unusual query for a human to ask at all. In fact, I would dare say we have all asked this question sometime during our lives, and perhaps many times.
Death is Inevitable
Humans. We spend a large amount of money buying vitamin supplements, facelifts, diets and other more dubious products. The reason? We are trying to defeat the inevitable, death.
It is a plain and simple fact that life is fatal. None of us are getting out of it alive.
I Asked Myself the Opposite Question
So, is the question of why should I live valid? Of course, but I challenged myself long ago to ask the opposite question:
“Is there life and happiness ahead for me? Why should I want to die before I find out?”
I understand all too well, that one who has survived severe childhood trauma is filled with doom and gloom. Why wouldn’t we be? Our young lives were lived in constant fear that for us there would be no tomorrows. We lived doubting we could survive another hour, let alone have a future.
I Was Challenged
However, I was challenged in my therapy, by very carefully crafted questions, to consider what life might be like for me. How would I live and feel if I believed there were good things all around me in the present and in my future life.
At first, I couldn’t allow myself to look beyond the hurt and pain. Just as it had been for me in childhood, I didn’t think there could be anything good ahead. I was convinced that only pain and sorrow lay ahead.
Wasn’t it inevitable that I would die someday? Why should I struggle to live if I had no power over sickness, aging, and death?
One Day I Opened My Eyes
Then one day I opened my eyes and suddenly noticed the beauty all about me. There was laughter, music, and many experiences I had always blown off as ordinary. Now I saw them as life-giving encounters that shone through the darkness of my bleak thinking. I turned my face toward the sun, felt its warmth and rejoiced.
I also recognized the ugliness in the world. There is poverty, evil, and greed those things cannot be denied. But to allow myself to only see the horror and never see the joy, that was robbing myself of enjoying my life.
The fact that we are all on the same journey, from birth to death, should offer each of us some consolation. I’m on my journey, and you are on yours, but the end result will be the same.
How Can We Reconcile the Inevitability of Our Own Deaths?
Love everyone with a love that cannot be denied
Be selfless whenever possible without ignoring our own needs
Laugh long and often
Accept life on life’s terms not forcing our way through it but enjoying every moment
Give away our love and our inspiration to everyone we meet
Love, love, love, love
Yes, life is fatal, but oh the life that can be lived before it comes!
My New Year’s Advice for You
“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” Bradley Whitford
Happy New Year Everyone!!!
May you find peace in your hearts in the coming year and make the resolution to enjoy every moment of the coming year!