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Shadowlands

by Rundy on November 10, 2006

Last night Shadowlands was on TV. The actors were good, the story was sad. The subject, something to think about. I suppose first it made me think about life in general, about all the pain and grief in life. Second it made me think about my present situation. Lewis, tending the dying, faced with a life slowly (or not so slowly) slipping away.

All of our mortal lives are measured by death–we live a span and then we die–but we don’t face up to this in our daily living. We so often live our lives as if it were not really a breath. But when you tend a dying person you see life compressed. The end is not far off but very near. The fragility of life, and its shortness is vivid in a way not seen elsewhere.

On the one hand this strikes me as a valuable instruction. We are all to number our day’s aright. To recognize the shortness of our lives, and the futility of our self-centered planning, is good. To recognize and accept our humble state is wisdom.

At the same time I believe the reaction that says “This is not right” is also proper. Nature has been corrupted–It isn’t right for life to be so. Our life was subjected to futility, and in tending the dying the futility of this life is put in stark relief–both our inability to save others, and our inability to save ourselves. The thought that “This is not right” reminds us that this life is not what we are looking for, and that we are still waiting for what will be. Properly, when we look at death it should remind us that this life is not what we are living for, nor what we are longing for.

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