Sunday, June 25, 2006

What's Up With Death?

It is interesting that you should ask that. The reality is that it is not new or just lately that I've thought about death. I've ruminated and philosphized and theologized and contemplated death since I was a teenager. It is not a popular subject to be sure. It is one of the few realities of life that no one has made a reality show about. We'd much rather watch people engage in their lowest, grossest and evil inclinations as entertainment than contemplate the end of life and perhaps be forced to contemplate the fact that all of that was indeed a waste of a human life that, instead of being honorable, loving and worthwhile was degraded and lowered to less than shameless dogs and pigs in public sight. Ah, but that is another rant.....

But death IS the end of our life, and how we spend our life will determine how we die. If we live in depravity and degradation, we will die hopeless and angry and regretful. If we live in Love, we live in hope. I'm going to post some "Chapters on Death and Love" from an old book I was working on. (The opening chapters are in the link "Life, Death and Love" in my sidebar.) Perhaps this will explain my facination with death... which is not a facination with death, but a facination with true Life. Here's Chapter One.

Romeo and Juliet

"Ah. dear Juliet, why art thou yet so fair? Shall I believe that unsubstantial death is amorous; and that the lean abhorred monster keeps thee here in dark to be his paramour? For fear of that I still will stay with thee, and never depart from this palace of dim night again: here, here will I remain (here with worms that are thy chambermaids; 0, will I set up my everlasting rest; and shake the yoke of inauspicious stars from this world wearied flesh.) Eyes, look your last! Arms, take your last embrace! and lips, a the doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss a dateless bargain to engrossing death! Come bitter conduct, come, unsavory guide! Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on the dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark! Here's to my love! 0 true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die." Romeo

"What's here? a cup, clos'd in my true love's hand? Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end: 0, churl! drink all, and leave no friendly drop to help me after? I will kiss thy lips; haply some poison yet doth hang on them, to make me die with a restorative. Thy lips are warm! Yea, noise! then I'll be brief - 0 happy dagger this is thy sheath, thet'e rest and let me die." Juliet

"We know love by this, that He laid down His life for, us ... the one who does not love does not know God, for God is love." St. John the Theologian

Romeo and Juliet. Love and death. I am the incurable romantic; I am drawn to death because I am drawn to God.

I wish to die because I am desperately in love with my Beloved. This is the heartbreaking joy of passion, it is the Divine Romance.

All lovers know that love bids us die for the sake of our beloved. This is the beautiful tragedy of love. The romantic amalgam of love and death is the highest, the simplest and most profound of all mysteries held tenaciously by the human heart. This is Truth: Death is the final witness to the true depth of passion of the lover for the beloved. It is not when, at the end of the story, the lovers finally make love that touches our very souls. The most captivating and romantic of all endings is when two lovers willingly and gladly die for the sake of eternity in one another's arms.

Death for the sake of love is simply the gospel according to Romeo and Juliet. Death is embraced by lovers because they know in death they will shed all the limits of the world and hindrances of this flesh to the final and complete union of their hearts. In death for the sake of love there is a trust as deep as their love that there will be a resurrection of the two as one, inseparable, complete and eternally bound. This is Truth, eternal, inescapable.

The heart of love knows that love and death are indeed a single substance. There has never been a lover who has not sworn he would forsake his very life for his beloved; every lover offers to his beloved his willingness to die for the sake of his love, for the sake of her love, as evidence of the passion in his heart. Love lays down its life for the beloved, sometimes in a single act, more often in acts done singlemindedly over the years for the sake of the beloved. Whether a life is sacrificed in a moment or over a lifetime, it is laid down for the sake of possessing the heart and soul of the beloved, it is gladly and willingly given to the one desired above all others.

But it is when we hear of two lovers choosing the moment, the single act with hope for some eternal certainty of one another's presence that our hearts are touched in a place that is sometimes too fearful and holy for even ourselves to enter and seek its blessing. Our reasonable, calculating minds will tell us the lovers' suicide pact was a waste of life, an eternal mistake, an unthinking and terribly short sighted solution to traverse the barriers of loving in a world that seems hostile to their romance. In our world-bounded humanity we resist touching the holy sorrow deep within us that envies them. We try to reason away the inexorable logic of love that, in our hearts, understands the reasonings of the heart broken by the desire for unhindered union with the beloved. We do this perhaps because in our humanity we fear death, and sometimes truly fear love more than death; but somewhere deep in our humanity we know death for the sake of love is what life is truly about, that it is an anchor of hope cast into the unfathomable depths of eternity itself. If we will, and we must, set aside our fears and open wide the door to the mystery of love and death we will find the One to Whom both love and death belong, in Whose image we are created, Whose nature we share. The door opens to the very dwelling place of our eternal Lover, God who gladly died for the sake of becoming one with us, His beloved, for all eternity.

This is, thus far, the end of my pilgrimage in my search for the meaning of my desire for death. I can go no further or deeper than the very love of God himself. This is the place I rest, this is where I am content to dwell for now: My desire for death is a witness to the very passion of God that has won my heart and mind and soul and strength. It is a manifestation of my desire dwell forever in the heart of my Beloved; in death alone can I truly know the depth of love that loves unto death.

In death alone I know that in love there is resurrection, that the love I share with my Beloved is stronger than death, a flame of passion many waters cannot quench. In death alone I know life is a burden gladly shed for the sake of eternity with my Beloved; all that keeps us apart, all our adversaries, the limitations of my flesh and heart are rendered powerless by death. In death sought for the sake of the Beloved, love alone is sovereign, our true union is consummated, finally and completely, and we will never be lost to one another again.

2 comments:

Mimi said...

I'm so sorry, S-P. May his Memory be Eternal.

McKenzie said...

ok...well...you sure did write a lot bout that and yeah...i'm trying to figure out where mimi's comment fits in....well i'm kinda in a hurry so i just read really fast. well....yeah. i guess you kno what you are talkin bout and i wasn't like wanting a really long answer like that but i kno you and i figured you would do that....lol.

love kenzie