Saturday, August 13, 2011
I find myself looking squarely at the possibility of my own death. Last month, the cancer in my body almost killed me. Twice. Most people who have cancer as advanced as is in my body don't live very long. I am fully aware of the danger of this disease.
I also know that I came into this world to be an agent for good. I am here to make the world a better place. In the context of this mission, my death right now would be meaningless.
If I die now, people will be sad. Among those closest to me there might be some long lasting hurts. But everyone would, I hope, in time, reconcile the pain and move on. Any positive impact I could have in this world would cease.
My death would be of no benefit to anyone. I can't do good in the world by dying. Only by living in this world can I make things better, can I have a positive impact, can I express and fulfill the mission that brought me here. So, I choose to live.
People talk of dying very casually. "Anyone of us could die at any time," is a common aphorism. True. But this is a theoretical understanding, and it is different and somehow less tangible than the very real possibility of death faced by one who has a serious illness. When one has a life-threatening illness, the reality of death becomes, by necessity, more serious. Thoughts of death become more common and more real. In my case, I find myself thinking about death too much. I've fallen into a trap of dwelling on death rather than focussing on living. The more I think about death, the less I think about life. I call this trap "dying before I die." By dwelling too much on death, it is easy to forget about living.
I want to live until I die. I may have 30 days or 30 years. I want to fill the time I have with living. Death will come when it comes, there is no need to dwell upon it until then. My focus is on living, and on fully engaging in the life and time I have remaining.
I'm delighted to be alive. And I intend to live.