Sometimes, witnessing death teaches you about life that life itself cannot.
This week, I encountered two deaths – one of a relative and one of a neighbor but it was the stark contrast of how they passed away that taught me something important.
Our relative passed away on the stage at the age of 70 years pursuing his passion for singing and music. He was performing at a religious gathering when he collapsed of a sudden cardiac arrest resulting from a rather long history of cardio-vascular disease. He was a parent of a special child and life wasn’t really easy for him. But he would always wear a smile as gentle as his nature and radiate joy whenever he met others. Music was his passion and to pursue it full time, he opted for a premature retirement from his banking profession.Music was also his defense against the trials of life – whenever he found himself tangled in vagaries of life, he would lose himself in songs that he wrote, composed and sung. He often mentioned that he would like to pass away gently while singing in devotion of the higher power. Universe granted his wish.
On the other hand, I heard the news of one of our neighbors who committed suicide at the age of 40 leaving behind wife and two boys aged 5 and 8! Though no one knows the reason why he chose to run away from life, everyone thought what he did was horrible. Escaping life to avoid being confronted with problems leaves those left behind with much bigger problems for rest of their lives!
Events like these makes you think hard about life and how to live it well. We often get too caught up with our problems whether it is financial, relational, physical or emotional. Problems are there for a reason. We evolve as we go through those experiences, face the challenges and solve our problems. We cannot let the dark clouds of despair take us over.
We all face problems and challenges in our unique contexts. A few things really help in dealing with them.
Having a strong support system in form of family and friends with whom you can share and communicate your feelings, emotions and concerns is important buffer we have. More important is to actually choose to communicate with our loved ones regularly. Having exposure to right kind of reading and thinking can help in dealing with problems wisely. Having at least one passion that you can lose yourself into completely can be a savior. Doing something to serve others can help in taking away focus from the self even if for short time. Having a spiritual hook in any form can help too. Living in the current moment and doing whatever you are doing with full focus can keep you away from anxiety of the future.
The life we have been bestowed with is precious. We got to use life energy as a tool to overcome challenges, to create meaning for ourselves, to serve others, to tread gently on this earth, lose ourselves in something bigger than ourselves and be open to learn along the way.
Voltaire said it right:
God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living it well.