My wife woke up this morning earlier than normal and hugged me, real hard. Surprised and in a sleepy stupor, I hugged her back as she began to tell me that she had a horrible dream in which I had died. Overcome by the emotional turmoil suffered in her dream, the glorious reality that I was alive led her to hug me a bit tighter as we welcomed the day.
Death has a way of putting things into perspective. It takes us from the “Supermen” and women that we believe ourselves to be to the “dust” that God created us from. In the shadow of death, we recognize ourselves as the light of the world just like like Christ whose entire life was lived beneath the looming threat of the cross.
Humility, then, is taking up our cross and recognizing that death will also come for us. In fact, humility goes beyond death, it is the constant desire and recurring action that frees others from the darkness of sin so that they too can shine through the darkness of the world.
As dark as it may sound, I often think about what life would be like if my wife and kids were to precede me in death. As I write those words, the mere thought of such sorrow makes my soul ache agonizingly. While this practice may be painful, the afterthought resurrects the life within me and puts my priorities back in order. It is because I think of death that I can truly live and appreciate life to the fullest
Now, don’t get my thoughts on death mixed up with hopelessness. On the contrary, thinking about death can benefit your zeal for life and increase your hope. The paradox is that when you realize you will die, life becomes happier. Your priorities change and your thoughts are rearranged. As a result, you are more able to recognize the beautiful life you already have. Instead of thinking about the lulls of your past or the security of your future, you are more able to think about the good that you have now.
When I’m stressed, overworked and worried, I can feel myself dying a little bit to the circumstances. But when darkness falls, I’m reminded by my conscience that someone in the world has it much worse than I and a feeling of Christ’s love envelops every particle of my mind, body and soul. I felt the same feeling this morning when my wife held me in her loving embrace prior to our alarm sounding.
Indeed, it was time to wake up and begin living again.