Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Listening to Death

Over the last few weeks, I have been moved by the sad, strange tale of Jahi McMath. Last weekend, the county coroner issued a death certificate for her, then released her body into her family's care while they wait for a miracle. Are they delusional, or simply following our communal hatred of death to its logical endgame?

Death is our enemy, the ultimate enemy, and it must be fought at all costs. Or so we tell ourselves. And yet it always manages to win. Despite our grand medical ingenuity, death finds a way. We will no doubt cure cancer someday, and before the celebrations have even begun, we will find ourselves battling some new dreaded disease. Death always finds a way. So perhaps it is time to stop fighting and start listening.

"But what of that which you fear most: death? Yes, the end will come, not just for you, but for this world as a whole. Do not be afraid, for this is a great joy. It is not an end, just part of the process of life. That is not just good, it is wonderful."

Death is neither punishment nor reward, but merely a doorway to something else. We can attempt to block that passage, but then we really would be delusional.

So rest in peace, dear Jahi. May your travels be truly wonderful.