Posted to Storytell on March 18, 2007:
Death is not horrible or permanent. There are definite parallels to "horrible" when people die in terrible ways. When my father died, it was a beautiful occasion to witness. I choose to think of death as a transition to another part of life, that we know nothing of except what we've been told. It seems horrible because we don't know what it means except that our loved one is no longer with us. I personally see death as a celebration or a graduation to another way of being.
My storytelling friend, Sylvia Barker, gave the eulogy for her husband's funeral a few years back and it was marvelous because she told stories about their courtship and their 28 years of life together. The stories were hilarious, even the mayor could not leave Sylvia’s stories for another engagement. You would not have thought you were at a funeral with everyone laughing so hard.
Death is just another experience in the tapestry of life. You only get to do it once-- so decide now how you'd like for it to be and pray for the best. I think most people would agree that quietly in your sleep after a long and fruitful life with few regrets is the way to go.
In the meantime, kive fully, but don't go standing in front of a bulldozer daring it to knock you down. I am not certain I would jump from a mountain either (though I hear it really gets the adrenaline going). Back to the bulldozer thing though, I must say that Rachel Corrie is no longer alive, her life thrown away in my opinion, chasing after some dream of peace. She gave her life because she really didn't believe it would be taken away. She probably had no idea that there are angry hurting people in our world. When you’re young there are lots of things you don’t take into consideration. You think you have forever. It is no accident the armed forces recruits the young.
Can you imagine an inner city youth standing in front of a bulldozer saying I am not moving? They are a contrast: the youthful, spoiled rich kids who have it all wanting to show they do make a difference even if it is foolish and the young urban, inner city kid who has less and doesn't give a care about him/herself so gets a quick thrill by shooting up or daring life to "blow him/her" is just as foolish a path.
There is no difference between the two personas. Senselessness. And yet, there is much to be learned from such a story. I hope many other youths will remember Rachel's experience and spare themselves and their families such great pain, but the likelihood of that is poor to middling, as our youths are in search of something mindful and meaningful—they aren’t always aware. In fact many of us, aren’t aware either. Seems to me the whole world is in search of something, which is why a great story would give them something substantial to sink their teeth into. Listening to stories is the adrenaline rush without the peril! Give me adventurous stories that leave you hanging on to every word any old day! There is peace in the midst of the adventure. IS it any wonder, stories are so gratifying?