Saturday, December 18, 2010

When time runs out...

As I type, the battery indicator on my laptop is telling me that 21 minutes remain: after that, lights out, unless there's a recharging session. What of our life when time runs out? Luther once wrote a sermon 'On Preparing to Die.' For him, death was fearsome but could be faced down with the succor of faith.

Some proclaim in certain terms to know what's next: heaven or hell, rebirth, nothing. Their certainty is a thin veneer over palpable anxiety. The nothing-nexters say we're simply dead and gone. They may well be right, but we can't be certain of it, either.

Some counsel, just make sure you use your 21 minutes, 21 years, or 91 years with as much commitment and vigor as you can. Good advice, save that no one does this. We all have moments of regret, laziness, lack of commitment, and the like. Then perhaps we should simply settle for a good fraction: say 91 years at 90 percent. Alas, this approach also isn't very satisfying, since the lost 10 percent is, at least sometimes, the most important.

Whatever we say, death is tough news. If life is simply over for us, it's not over for those who see us into the ground. So much more remains to be said, but...times up. Really, 2 minutes to go. Alas.

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