Written about a year ago, here are a few of my old thoughts.
This idea sparked while I was reading a play entitled Fences by August Wilson. One of the characters, Troy, says, “Ain’t nothing wrong with talking about death. That’s part of life.”
Death was never meant to be part of life. When death comes around, all parts of life cease to exist. Laughter, joy, contentedness, pleasure — life dwindles to a nonexistence. And when life ends, there is something new. There is death. There is one, then the other. There is life, then death.
Life is like white light, the presence of all color. Death, like black, the absence of all color. Because black is the absence of color and white is the presence of all color, black cannot exist in white. So too, death cannot exist in life. Neither black and white nor death and life can exist together. As black is not a part of white, so death is not and can never be a part of life. It is by itself, another more extraordinary novelty that stands alone apart from life.
Death comes in sequence when life ceases to exist. As Peter Pan said, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.” I believe he is right. Death is an adventure of its own.
Just as white is a beautiful entanglement of all of life’s colors, letting us see everything that’s beautiful within the light, so death will be a beautiful absence of the like. In the absence of color, there is still beauty. Consider outer space. When the sun is present, the whole world is visible, yet whatever lies beyond the sun is not. Its powerful light blinds us to anything it does not illuminate. Still, its illumination is beautiful. It is freeing. It is joyful. Equally as beautiful is the sun setting. We are left with darkness, but in that darkness we are able to see the stars.
Though you may think you love being in the light where everything is clear and colorful and unnecessary to question, don’t forget that aside from light there is darkness, and only in darkness can we see the stars. Similarly, aside from life there is death, and in death, the most beautiful thing happens — we experience a new adventure: to behold the face of God and see the Kingdom of heaven. If we were to never leave this life, we would miss the adventure of the summation of the purpose of all eternity.
(Revised January 8, 2011)