Pentecost + 11 - Year A
It has been said that “The only thing that is real is the being in you that is going to die”. (Carols Castaneda) and that “Death is our eternal companion. It is always to our left, an arm's length behind us. Death is the only wise adviser that a warrior has. Whenever he feels that everything is going wrong and he's about to be annihilated, he can turn to his death and ask if that is so. His death will tell him that he is wrong, that nothing really matters outside its touch. His death will tell him, 'I haven't touched you yet.'” Likewise this Castaneda insight, “Only the idea of death makes a warrior sufficiently detached so that he is capable of abandoning himself to anything. He knows his death is stalking him and won’t give him time to cling to anything so he tries, without craving, all of everything.”
These perspectives help us look at Jesus’ understanding of his life, while alive, while not yet dead but moving in that direction. Time is precious, too precious to spend in fear, in denying death. The stumbling block of denial still reaches up to trip us. We still need to hear that losing our life in life, not expectations, not denial of death, is what will focus us. To simply wait to hear that we have died is to not taste death before its time.
Spoke yesterday with a dear man who has heard from his doctors that he has less than two years to live. Cancer and an infection will have their way. And he continues, not arguing, bringing peace where he can - not in a forced way because time is short, but naturally, because this moment is still available.
Too often we consider that death has a last word, while all it can do is advise us in the present about engaging life that is significant enough to echo on. May you not get caught by the stumbling illusion that death is more powerful and less helpful than it really is. Walk on.