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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

You Only Die Once!

“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”   ~ William Shakespeare, from Julius Caesar

"Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it"  
~ Jesus, Luke 17:33

Remember the old James Bond novel/movie titled, "You Only Live Twice?"  The basic premise of the title and story is that Bond fakes his death in order to infiltrate an enemy plot.  Of course the title is a play on the phrase, "You only live once."  In reality both are somewhat true.  We do only live one lifetime, but within this lifetime we have numerous "second chances" to re-imagine how we go about living our lives.

The same can be said of death.  Each of us will die only one time.  However our lives are made up of many deaths as we "die" to former ways and embrace new ones.  A primal example of this for the vast majority of humanity is learning to walk.  In learning to walk, the necessity to crawl literally disappears and dies. The appropriation of language may be another example.  The point is there are many natural deaths throughout our lives.

Unfortunately we also have a penchant for imagining unnecessary deaths. These are the fears of our demise that never transpire, fears that often times keep us from exploring and fulfilling the potential and possibility of claiming our true humanity. In this vein, Mark Twain is reported to have said, "I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened." 

Of course this is not encouragement to do foolish things and intentionally endanger our lives or the lives of others. It is, however, invitation to let go of the "risk aversion" that seems to have permeated our collective and individual consciousness.  Why not stop living the "thousand deaths" of fear we encounter daily.

What are we afraid of anyway?  Death?  Jesus, not to mention the whole of creation, reminds us that death is a given.  By totally accepting the fact of our "one death" we find freedom from the many deaths, however great or small they may be.   Perhaps this is the way to let fear die once and for all so we can get on with truly living.     


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