While walking down my road last night at sunset I paused along the river–I live on “River Road”–and marveled at the brilliant red reflecting on the river. Turning toward the hills and mini mountains around my home the trees along the ridge lines stood in perfect silhouette against the blue, yellow, and orange of the sunset. It was one of those, “Life is good moments.”
And then I remembered this little thought I had the other day.
It all started with an interview I heard of Eric Weiner (great last name), the author of The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World. One person he interviewed said that the key to living a happy life is to stop for five minutes each day to think about death. Did I mention that the person who said this was not an American?
So I decided to give it a shot. While standing on the river bank I thought about death. Not just my own death, but the death that sweeps over our world, especially in the troubled nations of Africa where injustice and death hit so many lives. It’s kind of a heavy thought.
As a Christian I believe that death is not the end though, and here is where thinking about death got kind of interesting. I admit that I struggle with the right words here, but what if this world is just the tip of a huge iceberg that is life with God? This world will be but a distant memory, or a shadowland as I believe C.S. Lewis said.
This is the part that I find challenging: what if all of the pain, sorrow, and death in this life is but a drop in a bucket compared to what awaits us on the other side? I never want to belittle or ignore the suffering that is very real in this life. That would be horrible. But I wonder if we lose a sense of proportion, of the scale of this world compared with the next?
Sometimes I get bummed out that one day I and all of my family and friends will be dead. Gloomy thought. No way to get around it. As I watch older generations pass on, it’s just there. But if those years of sorrow are but a prelude to better times, the shadows before the sunrise, I think I can go along with that.