As spoken to a little boy who was having a hard time with the idea of death.
So I draw a circle here on this paper and this represents everything known to you; your world. You might think that we all live in the same world but we don’t, really. We just agree on enough “facts” to give us the illusion that we do. The sky is blue, grass is green, this is a table, it’s made of wood, it’s hard, the room is 14′ x 12′ and so on. But there’s a zillion “facts” besides these that make up our worlds. This is the great downfall of words. They attempt to paint our vast unfathomable worlds with the same “color” so we think we’re all in this cozy cocoon together instead of floating alone, with this petrifying unknown around us. Is the world a big scary place full of death or a nice, warm, peaceful place, full of love? That could only be answered if there was one world, one reality. Trust me that there is not one world. We live in our own worlds, you and I, and everyone else. We overlap and agree on enough things to make it look like we’re all here together.
Now this little x here in the middle is you. Plump down in the middle of your world, your known. Snug as a bug in your comfort zone. Now I’m going to erase it and re draw it way over here half in and half out of the circle. This is you now. You’ve been pushed over here to the edge of what you know. You’ve faced death. You’re scared, uncomfortable, because somehow you’re being forced to see something you don’t want to see, aren’t ready to face. It’s not cozy or warm in any way.
Now once you face it, once you find the truth of this matter for yourself, your “world” will grow bigger around you and you will be comfortable again. I’m going to erase this big circle and re draw it bigger without moving the “x” that is you. See how your “Island of the known” is bigger? Don’t make the mistake of trying to move back into the circle, into your comfort zone. You can only do this by hiding and destiny always finds the hidden man. Growth is your only choice. Seeing more. Seeing less, lying to yourself, avoiding. All this is difficult and causes injury to your life. You become dishonest in your core. You become a slave to fear and untrustable to yourself and others.
One way to get on your way here is to use death as an advisor. You use death to advise you as opposed to using self-importance as an advisor. Using self importance might look like being grumpy because you don’t get dessert after dinner. You had a desired, it went unfulfilled, you hold onto and broadcast your disappointment like a big baby. You pout. This is using self importance as an advisor. To use death as an advisor is to imagine it’s your last breath. Your last day here. How much of a fuss would you make about finding out your brother ate the last cookie or finished the ice cream is you knew you would die in your sleep tonight? How much resentment could you hold toward your Dad for yelling at you if you knew he’d die in an accident tomorrow on his way to work? This is using death as an advisor, and you see why not many people do it voluntarily. You can deal with all this in only two ways: With love or fear. By love I don’t mean gushy, positive, emotions. I mean that you face it open, bravely. Be a little scared but do it anyway. Accept the fact that death is as beautiful as life, even though you don’t really know or believe that yet. To go with fear, you would try to hide and forget. But we already talked about how destiny finds the hider.
Very uncomfortable and scary and sort of unhappy work. But it leads to new places, bigger happiness, and it’s sort of our hidden agenda I think. We’re meant to grow, not stay the same. And I think our pain comes from trying to stay the same. Want to know what Jesus would do? Ask yourself what you would do if your mom was on her death bed, and the doctor told you she would take her last breath soon.