Addressing our mortality

William T. Robinson, Jr.

While you are young, you rarely question your mortality because you don’t feel the sting of time weighing heavily upon you. You feel young and invincible, as if you will live forever. Many times you find young adults unwilling to invest in their future or even procure life insurance as if they have plenty of time here on earth or that death is something they refuse to grasp or entertain. Enjoying the moment makes one impervious to impending time. Preparing for one’s demise is such a gloomy subject. It is an inevitable fact that we all are destined to die, but it just isn’t pleasant to think about it.

In the light of recent national tragedies and uncertainties from day to day, one is literally forced to examine what is important and treasure the gift of love and life while it exists. It makes us appreciate loved ones, friends and our ongoing relationship with humanity. We come to the realization that we are to grasp and appreciate the moment, for nothing is guaranteed, especially our time here on earth. We can’t afford not to manifest our love to loved ones, exhibiting the universal truth of treating your neighbor as you wish to be treated.

Acquiring an education, pursuing a career, dating, marriage, a family, leisure activities, vacations, raising children and meeting our financial obligations are some of the daily occurrences taking precedence in our lives. Being so busy makes thinking about or preparing for one’s death low on our list of what’s important, but no one is exempt from it. It seems that as you get older, when the children are grown and gone, or you approach retirement or attend many of your peers’ funerals, or become ill or bedridden—it begins to dawn on you that your days are numbered. If you are lucky, your religion or spirituality has prepared you to accept death.

It is in acknowledging your mortality that you begin to weigh the relevancy or importance of your trek through life. You ask yourself if the world is a better place because of your existence. Have you been kind and giving to others, especially the down and trodden? Have you spoken out against injustice and inequality? Have you advocated for truth and honesty and detested immorality and corruption? Have you advocated for an environment that will sustain your children and future generations? Are there people who are adamant in expressing that you inspired them or made an unforgettable impression in their lives?

If your life has not made a positive effect on someone or some group, maybe you should evaluate your purpose and make amends. Going to church every week and listening to sermons that sound good but you don’t follow is a practice among too many so-called good people? Some people are waiting until they get older to repent from nefarious and indulgent behaviors and practices—not considering death may take you at any given time. Too many people brag about their titles or impressive positions or parade their material things such as jewelry, expensive clothes, cars, and homes as if those possessions justify their existence on this earth. Too bad they can’t take these materialistic articles with them when they die. Only the good deeds and love you manifested while living will matter once you are gone. It is sad that so many people don’t comprehend or adhere to this basic concept.

Making sure your family will be financially stable is paramount for many in acknowledging they will not always be around. But the acquisition and unhealthy love of wealth, power, and possessions are waning, and poor substitutes for quality time with loved ones. Often these practices cloud one’s true appreciation for what really matters in life. Some would argue that our accumulation of material things in a capitalistic society fogs our ability to accept our pending mortality.

Your mortality should not be framed by how long you live but in what you contribute to humanity, making this world better than when you found it. You become immortalized when the goodness of your life continues through others after your death. The truth is that one’s immortality is intertwined and predicated on the love you generate to the universe. That transcends your physical presence on earth, which we know is only temporary. Love never dies.