Memento Mori.

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(Image credit: The Atlantic)

If you’ve been paying any attention to the headlines this year, you may have noticed that a few people have died. Well, maybe “a few” doesn’t quite do it justice. Between Bowie, Snape, Prince and several others, it’s been a bleak year for the entertainment world indeed. I’ve even seen news articles where people have suggested this has something to do with planetary alignments and all kinds of far-out (literally and figuratively) stuff like that. Yet 2016 has also seen the loss of some people in my own life, most particularly my aunt, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer in February aged 55.

All this has, understandably, got me thinking about the reality of death (as I’m sure it has many others). As humans, none of us is immune to death; each of us will, at some point, have to come to grips with our own mortality. What’s even harder is that no one knows exactly when it’s going to be their turn – there’s always a chance I might choke on something in my sleep and not wake up the next morning. The implications this has for how we live our lives are huge, and work on a spectrum. On one hand, it’s possible to be so frightened of death that we don’t appreciate this life to the full; on the other, we might take the ‘YOLO’ approach, and indulge ourselves fully as though this might be our last chance.

Now of course, neither of these are the most healthy attitudes, but is it at all possible to strike a balance between them? I guess, if we remember that we have a Saviour who defeated death on the cross and bought us eternal life with God, and make that the focus of our lives, then everything else ought to just come naturally. Our deepest satisfaction isn’t found in the things of this world, however much the media might try and convince us otherwise, and they certainly can’t deal with the problem of death. As I think I’ve said in a previous post here (edit: I have), it makes more sense to put God’s agenda before the world’s, particularly when it comes to ‘big’ things like this. Leave it all in my hands, the Lord seems to say, and things will turn out hunky-dory (as the Starman himself would say). Of course, this isn’t easy to say in the midst of trauma, but we have to remember that this is an all-good God we’re talking about. He can see the bigger picture even if we can’t, and will surely bring good in the end.

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