“Dying ain’t so hard for men like you and me. It’s livin’ that’s hard.”
This quote is from Josey Wales (played by Clint Eastwood) as he speaks to Chief Ten Bears in their alpha-male showdown in the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”
One of the surest lessons of my life as a steward of the land and the animals that inhabit it is this: dying is part of living.
This reality has influenced the way Moe (my lovely bride of 36 years) and I approach the care taking of our land, our animals, our families, and ourselves. When we become keenly aware of the imminent reality of unescapable death (of the plants, the animals, the microbes, the humans) in our circle, we also become keenly aware that those deaths generate/nourish new life.
Especially interesting is this concept as we consider our own looming deaths (dates/times/conditions of which are completely unknown and unpredictable).
While we’re living we can actually do some planning for our deaths. We can let others know what we would like regarding our funerals, we can arrange for the dispensation of our possessions, we can make our wishes known with respect to how much effort we want invested in artificially continuing our lives.
Most importantly, we can teach lessons about dying by living life fully -
fully appreciating the gifts we’ve been given,
fully attuned to those we love,
fully fit in body/mind/spirit,
fully dedicated to service,
fully loved, and
The best sort of dying occurs when we have lived like that. In the words of Ten Bears (from the same movie scene linked above), "It shall be life." Fully lived...