It's the truth.
I was doing some reading the other day, and I wish I could dig up the source once again for citation purposes. Yet, I have found that as the numbers of my age rise, my ability to remember things decreases!
But I believe I am paraphrasing it accurately when I say that we humans spend more than our fair share of contemplating our deaths and striving desperately to avoid them.
We are obsessed with prolonging, preserving, and maintaining not only our youth but our lives.
Look at all the crap out there specifically designed to make you "grow old gracefully", "make you more healthy", "extend your life", etc. Think of the billions of dollars we spend on health care. Know a dirty little secret? Know where the bulk of that expense comes? At the end of life--usually trying to eke out a few more precious months or weeks or days. We must extend life at all costs!
Now, please do not think that I am somehow trying to diminish the importance or dignity of life. Far from it. But when does dignity and importance become obsession and idolatry?
As I was contemplating this issue, I became struck by Jesus' words regarding children and the Kingdom of Heaven:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ 2He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. Matthew 18: 1-5
I thought long and hard about this text, and I began observing my kids' attitude toward life and death.
Rarely do they ever think about death. In fact, it doesn't consume their thoughts at all. They freely go through life without much thought of death at all. They don't obsess about their bodies. They don't worry about tragedies that could befall them. They don't think about whether or not they should eat pizza or spinach. They run and play for the pure enjoyment of running and playing--not because they need the exercise.
Good Lord, most of us adults have forgotten what it means to be children. We exercise because we have to keep healthy--not because we want to run and play and laugh. We worry about counting calories and eating the right things instead of enjoying our meals and just stopping when we feel full. We buy medications and make up and hair dyes to give us the appearance of being young and vital--when we are really buying them because of our vanity. Oh man, what it would be to not care about such things.
What if we just enjoyed playing and getting exercise through playfulness instead of worrying about our waistlines?
What if we just enjoyed our food instead of worrying about whether or not it was appropriate (politically or healthy)?
What if we didn't worry about our appearances?
What if we really trusted that death were not the end and that it is just a transition into eternity?
Might we be like children? Might we be experiencing just what heaven is like?
Wonder how close I can come to being like a child--even for five minutes?