learning to fear the right things

A man named Kobayashi Maru has written about his brother’s death this week. (Hat tip to Amy.) So much of what he says resonates with my experience of being present at my dad’s deathbed just over a year ago.

Our culture, and particularly the Los Angeles culture in which I attempt to survive, makes deafening demands to think constantly about youthfulness and physical health. It’s a culture that is very afraid of aging, disease and death — as if these were the worst things that could happen to us.

But experiences like the one I’ve linked to today make it clear that death can be beautiful… awe-inspiring, even… when viewed through eyes of faith. Our fear of death betrays a vision of life that is too narrow, too constricted, too suffocating… one that behaves as if this life is all there is.

Our priorities are, so often times, the inverse of what they ought to be. We are afraid of dying, but not of sinning. It’s one of the great confusions of my heart, and, I hazard to guess, of more than a few of us.

2 thoughts on “learning to fear the right things

  1. Well put, and thank you for the tribute. As I remarked in the eulogy for my brother yesterday: “We’re conditioned to think that more time is always better; that making it to a long, tanned shuffleboard retirement somehow makes the man; that suffering and loving deeply are extra credit courses we can take once our lives are perfectly set…”

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