The guest speaker at the UofM commencement service on Sunday, Dr. Raynard S. Kington, shared a story about his six-year-old son who couldn’t go to sleep one night because three things were bugging him. As any conscientious father would, he hoped to resolve these issues, assuage his son’s fears and put him to sleep, but the concerns proved forbidding.
The three concerns went something like this:
1. I’m uncomfortable with the fact that numbers go on forever – that no matter how large a number is, you can always add one to it!
2. I don’t like the idea that we can’t see the end of space – that it stretches beyond what we could ever measure…
3. And I don’t like the fact that everyone dies! I don’t want to die!
What a perceptive little boy! The existential dissonance of the concept of infinity in the face of our mortality was enough to keep this little boy up at night…and it’s what bugs us every time we’re forced to stare into the face of death.
Everyone senses an inherent injustice in the fact that there is so much to be seen and done…and that time stretches on…and we have the desire to see and do…yet we are limited by our mortality. Each time death comes knocking, our grief reminds us that we were meant to live longer…experience more…
Even when times are rough; when nothing’s going right; when it’s so bad living seems a curse…Even in those times, the only thing we want more than for it to end, is to live! We want to live, not just as breathing organisms. But we want to thrive. We want to appreciate the beauty that life has to offer. We want to live abundantly.
Death will never make sense because it’s incongruous to our nature by creation. We were created to live and without any holy book telling us so, we know it within our depths.