Are you mortal yet?  Have you reached that point in your life where you have come to the realization that this thing will come to an end?  I think I got there recently.  Don’t worry, this is not going to be some morbid post about a fascination with death.  So you’re safe to keep reading.

I grew up a preacher’s kid.  My father has spent the better part of his life marrying and burying.  Even to this day in his late seventies he seems to spend a majority of his ministerial duties at the side of dying people, and helping the grieving after their loved ones have died.  My mother is always telling me who is sick and dying, and who has died.  For most of my life I have just tuned it out, and complained to my wife that all my mother wants to discussed is who is sick, and who has died.  Quite depressing conversations really.

But something changed recently.  Not that the conversations about death increased or got more intense, or anything like that.  But instead, I woke up one morning very aware of my mortality; very aware that this condition that we refer to as life is only temporary.  Of course I have always known that, as I’m sure you have always known it as well.  But on that fateful recent day I became keenly aware that my days, your days, are numbered.  This awareness drove my thoughts inward.  I began to ritualistically take inventory of my life, and what I cherished the most.  I began to ask myself the hard questions about what have I accomplished in the time I have had so far? and what value have I added to the world around me, and to the lives of those that I interact with every day?  Have I done anything that will be remembered in someone else’s brief sojourn?  and have I contributed in any legitimate way to either humanity, or the world that we live in?

Yeah, tough questions.  People seem to take two approaches to this subject.  First, they say “the world needs to get out of my way and stop being so stupid.  Leave me alone, and let me do whatever I want to do in whatever way I want to do it.  Since I’m gonna die anyway I’m gonna get and take all I can regardless of what impact it may have on others.  So get out of my way, or there will be vengeful consequences.”  Or, second, people will say “life is short, and I must take advantage of what time I have to experience all that I can while adding value to the world around me.”

I hope that in whatever time that remains for my life that people who come into contact with me will feel that they have received benefit from being with me.  I hope that whatever I can add, whether it be kindness, humor, joy, laughter, positive energy, wisdom or any score of other positive attributes will leave a positive mark behind me, in everything that I do.

Of course none of us are perfect, and we all have our moments and days of hatefulness and selfishness. But I sincerely hope that I can learn how to hold all of that to a minimum.