In earlier days Christians would remind themselves of their mortality with memento mori. Artists would remind their wealthy patrons of the transience of life with skulls and images of decay.
In today’s secular world the reality of death is pushed to the very edge of our society. Young people rarely get to see the old and the dying. We, the living, have busy lives so we get precious little time to consider our mortality. We have Netflix and a thousand distractions so why would we want to consider our own deaths?
But as we get older the health of relatives and friends starts to deteriorate and it becomes harder to ignore the fact that we have limited time on this earth. Death is looking pretty much like a certainty.
And this for me is when I started to appreciate my life and all life. Once I accepted that my death is a part of life and not a genetic error, I experienced a sense of freedom and joy in a way that I hadn’t before. Life and death are inseparable and are the great mystery that I cannot fathom. When I wholly accept the transience of life, each day becomes a joy.