“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will — either by having nothing happen at all, or by having everything happen at once.”
~ Paulo Coelho
I have looked for some time now — in history and literature, on the internet, in the stories of those around me — and have concluded that there is no right path in life. Life simply is. In the end, we all become dust and bones; whichever path you take, that is uniquely yours, is the path you are meant to be on. The journey is your own, the luggage yours to hold. That being said, a lack of tangible evidence to confirm one’s actions are moving them towards the intended goal is disheartening. I would like to believe that you get out what you put into life, but sometimes the race seems to go on and the finish line evermore obscure.
I recently stumbled across a poem by a First Nations chief that I wish to share; I hope it has the same effect on you that it had on me.
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
~ Chief Tecumseh (1768-1813)
This, I reckon, captures the essence of a life well lived. There is no escaping death, no knowing what tomorrow holds. To be honourable in action and to strive for a better version of yourself is perhaps all there is to do before the bell rings and the fight is over. Every second that passes is edging you closer towards your inevitable death — is this something to be feared, embraced, loved? I do not know what to make of it. What I have decided to do is to explore my interests and passions, to deal with the daily tasks of my life to the best of my abilities, to remain humble through Scripture and reflection, and to enjoy the small pleasures of life. Perhaps the lens will clear with time.