[the end]

A good friend of Mom's and long time neighbor is dying.

Death is a strange thing to think about. In America, thinking about it is almost taboo; if you think about death it's like inviting it into your life.

I've been slowly working my way through a Tibetan Buddhist book on life and death. With everything that's going on in my life right now, the Tibetan approach to death has got me thinking about our own approach to it.

In Tibetan Buddhism, death is something people spend time thinking about and preparing for over the course of their lives. It's not taboo nor is it worshipped. Yes death is a release from the cycle of samsara, which is essentially the living's struggle with grasping at a world created by the ego instead of the world as it truly is.

I don't believe in the idea of samsara or enlightenment in the Buddhist sense of the word.

But maybe the Buddhists have something to teach us Christians on this one.

If you read Paul's letters he constantly discusses his own death. In many ways Paul is ready for death. But he isn't wishing it upon himself. He's not suicidal or so dissatisfied with life that he wants to drop dead right this second.

What Paul is is prepared for death. He knows exactly what death means. He knows what happens after death. He's ready.

Paul isn't the only one. Even Christ prepares for death well before He's ever arrested. He starts talking to His disciples about it and putting plans into place. He spends time praying and preparing His own mind for death.

If you asked me what I thought happened to people after they die, I'd tell you exactly what I've been conditioned to say: they go to heaven or hell. And what does that mean you might ask?? Well, heaven is a place of eternal joy where you get to be with God forever. You get your questions answered and you get to see loved ones that died before you. Hell on the other hand is eternal suffering and separation from God.

But what does that mean?

The truth is, I have no idea. The question of what death means beyond the intellectual has cropped up in my mind before. But every single time it was pushed away quickly. After all, thinking about it was inviting it into my life. And the last thing I want is to invite death into my life.

How prepared are we for death?? Sure we can parrot answers about our chosen denomination's beliefs on the matter. But do we actually understand our own answers? I don't. Not in a heart-sense anyways.

I think I'm going to spend a little time changing my perception of thinking about death. Maybe the Buddhists are right and maybe death isn't quite so morbid a topic of thought. And if Christ and Paul thought it was worth preparing for, then should I not also spend some time in preparation?

I sincerely hope that I have decades left on this Earth. There's still so much to be done here. But hopefully, when I reach the final days of my time on Earth I'll be ready.

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