Do you notice how the Universe sends you messages? And how sometimes we recognize these prompts as opportunities to stop and contemplate life but often we ignore them out of busyness? Today I am thinking about death- not my own but how we as a society process ones passing.
Last night at dinner my family had a discussion about Kobe Bryant star basketball player who died tragically at 41. The outpouring of grief around the world is common when an “important” person dies. Aren’t we all important people, as Unitarians say we must celebrate the inherent worth and dignity of all people.
Death, and how we process it, came up again for me this morning when I heard on the radio about the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz- 1 million people killed by other human beings? While it seems incomprehensible to us we need to realize that we as a species are killing each other daily. With opiods, economic disparity, and in dozens of wars and conflicts across the globe. One that particularly struck me was the plight of the Hopi and Navajo Indians in Arizona who are struggling after a major coal plant shut down, depriving them of the main source of heat. This winter many may have to choose between buying wood or food to try and survive! Why is this not as big a story as Kobe?
When I think of my own death it is interesting how different it is at 60ish than when I was younger. While I hope I have many more healthy, productive years I am also OK with the fact that no one get out of here alive! What to focus on during what ever time I have left? My younger self would have focused on experiences- going to places I haven’t seen, accomplishing more, attaining more, etc. Today I think of enjoying what I already have- my health, enough to eat and a place to live, work I love, and most importantly the relationships. Primary ones like my wife Mary and my kids, all my great friends and patients, and even casual ones that seem insignificant. There is no telling how a kind word or a smile to a stranger can impact another.
We can mourn the loss of others but we must focus on what is under our control- how we live out our remaining days!
In Health, Dr Matt
- Posted in: TGIM