Dying has been glorified in recent years. Meanwhile, Death remains an insidious villain. Recent experience leads me to believe these two attitudes have no basis in reality.
Hear me out.
It’s not my intent to start an argument or step on anyone’s toes. Death and dying are personal avenues for every living soul on planet earth. My thoughts on these concepts will hardly prevent me from treading the dying path toward death.
If only it could be so easy.
Glorification of Dying
Movies glorify dying. Look at the soldier throwing himself on a grenade. How about the stranger tossing a child from in front of a speeding car at the cost of his own mortality?
Gaming forums are the worst offenders in this area. Actual snippets overheard during an online gaming session:
- “Would you stop dying? You’re killing our team score.”
- “I’m on my last life so try and keep me from dying, will you?”
- “What do you mean? I only died three times!”
In isolation, these snippets would be cause to call in a grief counselor for an intervention. They are commonplace in a household where first person shooter games are cool and hopping onto Xbox Live to kick some alien booty with friends is a favorite pastime.
“Dying grace” is a phrase I used myself – before I had to watch my mother die. Dying in a bed of affliction in never graceful. If the phrase is speaking of an attitude toward death, it might make sense. If it’s a rephrasing in regard to God’s grace for daily living, I might be able to swallow it.
Dying is ugly. Whether there is blood and gore or just a silent slipping away, it isn’t glorious.
Death: Hero or Villain?
I recently read a novel that depicted Death as just another guy doing his job: collecting souls and taking them to the afterlife. How does that make him a villain?
Death is a gateway. It marks the end of this thing we call life. We love life; therefore, we hate death.
The actual moment of death happens in an eye’s blink. Dying provides time for that last monologue (courtesy of Shakespeare). Death silences those lips. Dying is the thing that prolongs suffering. Death is a doorway to relief.
In this sense, death can be a hero. If death is a villain to be avoided at all costs, it’s wrong to make dying appear to be something marvelous and desirable when its end is death.
My logic could be faulty, but here’s the bottom line. We glorify dying when it is done in a certain manner: sacrificially or stoically. In the same breath, we vilify death as a lecherous beast that sucks life away. It’s backwards. We should despise dying for diverting us from the pathway called living and embrace death as the gateway into the next life.
Crazy? Maybe if you have no faith to mark the gate of death for what it is: the elevator to eternal life.
Regardless, dying is ugly. There is blood, pain, sickness, and heartache. Dying involves a loss of vitality, a surrender of dignity, and the murder of hopes and dreams. My prayer: to skip dying and just screech, tires spinning all the way, from life into death.
What truth can you share about death and dying? How does your perspective differ from mine?