Originally published February 27th, 2018.
"There were once three brothers who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight."
People often ask if I’m scared of death since atheists don’t believe in an afterlife, and my answer has always been some version of no. After I divorced the idea of eternal damnation, I was quite alright with the idea of death. It was a certainty, and while I didn’t (and still don’t) want it to happen anytime soon to me or those I love, its presence created an odd purpose to my existence. Life has meant everything and nothing at the same time. It is whatever I deem it to be, the legacy I leave behind is my eternal life, and I’ve always labored on the notion that I had plenty of time to carve it.
I was comfortable with the notion that I had time to chip away at my legacy. And then I found that notion teetering on the edge of a bed whose owner looks a whole lot like me and who only made it to 53 before life and death decided to engage in a game of chicken with her existence.
Death never lets us forget that it knows where we are.
We don’t get to collect invisibility cloaks, resurrection stones, or Elder wands. There are no hallows to help us conquer death. There are no disks in our necks or elixirs we can ingest. We can barely conquer life, how grand are our egos that we believe we could ever conquer death?
It will come for us all, with no hesitation. So what do we do until then? What do we do with this one short life? I have asked myself that question time and time again, and even more fervently this past week. Death always lays the groundwork for sadness, fear, and despair when it knocks, even if it’s just opening the door and not taking a soul, but it is we who decide how we tend the soil and reap the harvest that it leaves behind.
It’s up to us to decide if we’ll reap the despair or use the harvest as a catalyst for greatness and allow it to nurture those things we thought we could put off until everything was just right.
So, as the winter melts away and gives way to the new beginnings and the challenges of spring, what my friends will you do with this one short life?
Copyright(c) 2018 Rayven Holmes