I was confronted by my own mortality this morning. I didn’t wreck my car or motorcycle, nor was I otherwise physically injured. I woke up, got out of bed, went to the bathroom, and looked in the mirror.
And there it was. Death was staring me in the face. He didn’t come as a tall spectre enrobed in black and carrying a scythe. Instead he chose to appear to me in a form less menacing, but no less final.
In the midst of my otherwise dirty brown locks was a lone grey hair. I’m used to the occasional red, blonde, or black hair, but this is my first grey one. At a mere 25 years of age, the grey hair has appeared.
Now this isn’t the same as, say, being diagnosed with cancer or AIDS or being in a plane crash. That’s death standing over you screaming. This was more like a wave and a glance that says, “We’ll be seeing each other, maybe not real soon, but soon enough.”
So I yanked the offending hair and took my shower. As I washed myself, I started thinking about what I had done with my life, what I am doing with my life, and what I want to accomplish before I shuffle off of this mortal coil. The answers are, for those interested, “A good bit, not enough, and a hell of a lot more,” respectively.
Being in law school and holding down a job has me pretty much on auto-pilot, which is not a good place for me to be over the next three years of my life. People get cut down in their prime all the time, and I don’t want to be caught off guard, with so much left to do.
When I checked my email this morning, I had a note from my father, who just last month had a malignant melanoma removed.
Did I tell you about your Aunt? She is going to Cleveland to get a valve job. She needs a repair job on a valve in her heart. She has been told that Cleveland is the best place to get this done. Since I will be in Oklahoma for the holiday weekend I will fly from Tulsa to Cleveland to be with her. Should be an interesting time. The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.
You remember Joe? One of our mutual friends, you may have met him. Named Patrick. passed away Monday. he was 58. heart attack.
Makes you think
The Stoics believe that everything we have is borrowed from the logos, including our lives. We should focus on living virtuously and doing our duty to our fellow man and society. When the time comes to return this body to the logos, we should do so cheerfully, with the knowledge that we lived as we ought.
Death is not in our power, neither our own, nor that of those we love. All that is in our power is how we live.