Monday, July 18, 2011

To think about death

Penser à la mort

During a tragic event, the thought that we mortals can arise and seems to have to remain indefinitely in us. Most often, this occurs when there is a death in the family, a relative being hospitalized, someone who had a serious accident ...

If we recognize the importance of joy in our service of G-d, is not such a thought an obstacle to this goal? In other words, can the thought of death leave us in a positive state of mind?

It is difficult to answer this question because each one of us reacts differently when faced with death. However, by using a single indicator, it may be possible to find out if the thought of death should be refused, accepted or even desired.

To fight or to accept?

This indicator is one that we can - must - use frequently in our daily actions: do we feel closer to G-d by thinking about death? Does such a thought allow us to contemplate seriously enough and to cope with the vicissitudes of everyday life? Also, is it a help to focus better on the key aspects of our short life in this world?

An example: recently, Elie lost his mother. Her sudden disappearance left him in total disarray. After few weeks, Elie goes back to work and participate in the activities that were his before this painful period.

While a smile is hard to sketch, Elijah feels that his desire for life has not entirely disappeared. In fact, he realizes that when he thinks about the death of his mother, he focuses more easily than before on the essentials of life like: becoming a better person, enjoying his children, spending  more time with his family, talking more often to G-d ...

A few months later, Elijah is another person. His mind is more at peace, he knows when to say no to non essential activity when needed. Before, he would not have hesitated to be involved in all kind of adventures, but now he appreciates the value of spending more time with his wife and his children. He will not leave easily a game he plays with his five year old son for something else ...

We understand that Elijah's attitude is a positive one. His mother's death allowed him to realize that life is not eternal. If that makes us step back and realize the futile aspect of some of our activities, all for the better.

However, if the thought of death immobilizes us, if our inevitable end brings us into lethargy ... we can be certain that such thinking has its roots in our evil inclination whose sole purpose is to get us away from the Creator. In that case, the thought of death must be combated with the utmost energy.

I wish you to take every opportunity to get closer to G-d, even if that may ask you to think about death.

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