Future can be very ambiguous sometimes. What is coming is always vague, disappointing or cheerful. It is still mysterious, except for one thing: death.
Caught Between Two Stools
Death was the most beyond-belief topic for my humble mind to apprehend.
Whenever it abducts someone I know, I start drowning in my thoughts, anchoring me at no port. Until someone that I knew for all my life passed away without any prior notice, I couldn’t absorb what this unimaginable thing is. The exile of the soul. The expiry of our being. The powerful unseen entity that reveals the nihilism of the life we know.
I already have faith in afterlife, destiny and fate. I didn’t doubt any of this of course. In contrast, I believed more in them and started resolving this entire knot of conflicting ideas to reach a conclusion.
Nonetheless, I sensed how manipulated and eaten up was I by the mirage of life and the flawed, distorted meaning we give it. I decided to look for the verses tackling death in Quran and see where they can take me. The answer was there. It is the only determined future for us; the only thing we can be certain of, and most significantly, the final stop and the beginning.
It is cynical how a human being, with their fascinating created minds can be so absent, and how life’s trivialities are so good at putting wool over our eyes! I know it is a kind of “cliché” to talk about good deeds for the day your soul goes back to its Creator, but it has been a very common, unrecognised and disregarded matter among many people throughout life’s history. We hear about it, we witness it, we know it very well, we mention it in our gatherings, yet we still ignore its full presence.
It is so eerie how we can actually fail to recall such a huge, evident truth although it is something we daily experience; not only by dead people, but by dead thoughts no longer present, dead childhoods forgotten in the past, dead human cells replaced over and over, dead moments never to be repeated, dead tears, dead feelings, dead masks and dead characters.
Yet, everything dies to give life. Death is the essence of life, and life cannot be it without death. It’s what drives life on with a purpose. In spite of that, how do we respond?
Some people think that being optimistic means devoting all your considerations to the present moment, and that avoiding death means avoiding depression. Nevertheless, this kind of present, like every moment, experiences death. It does not make it go away nor does it help us deal with death itself.
Instead, death can be a motivation, a guarantee and a reminder above all. Being aware of my passing days, and that there are millions of details about me dying every and each moment, before I die altogether, should make me think of every single detail that shapes me and my life. Death is the deadline by which I submit all I am required to be.
Best of Both Worlds
To my mind then, the antonym of life is not death: it can be any other concept that causes undesirable life or death. It can be idleness, contempt, egotism, greed, war, grief or many other things, because being alive doesn’t matter as long as I would always exist somewhere else. What really matters is the impact of my existence on this universe and on me after death. Furthermore, it is not necessary that I be a role model or an influential figure. However, it is necessary to know that I am living life right to ensure I am “dying” life right!
I am not highlighting how I must run to perfection. It is never attained. I am pointing at an inevitable common experience that should make us all do our best; it may not be the best, but it ought to be my best.
It is like visiting myself in the grave and thinking of what I can do to that person in that condition. I should love myself wisely enough to make it worth the permanent relief and continuous celebration, to get the best of both worlds.
As for the day that surely comes, it is the lottery that I will one day win, but have to spend my time well! Otherwise, I am the same age again; dying all over again, every single day with no ability to really live life. I am giving chance and opportunity for this eventuality to make me worry and to have the upper hand over my own authority.
Being balanced is the essential status one should arrive to and, only by recognising the resemblance between life and death and our mission in both, can it be managed.
Even fear at this moment becomes healthy and productive enough to protect our spiritual experience.
Will we be able to throw some light on that issue, to feel self-assured about death?
The answer is not verbal here; it is by the sensation I become alive and dead. It is how gratified and content I am by the path I chose for myself. My worldly life is a preview for the later elaborated unseen world. In addition, everything pays off and I, only I, am the praise-worthy or the blame-worthy.
Questioning, depression, denial, fear and doubt have taken their share and my quest towards balance has begun.
My gateway shall be as bright as I would like it to be for my entire fate and nothing should wait. Valuing my parents, sacrificing for my creator, sowing the seeds for success, showing kindness, serving my nation, mastering work, being truly patient, having faith to advocate, and deeply believing in all of this. All of it shouldn’t wait. Cleansing myself from the inside and leaving behind what keeps me behind is what I need for the spiritual maturity. Every sin is just a step backwards and a great load to bear; a soul patch and an earlier burial.
I imagine the pleasure and courage I acquire after every step I take on the heels of readiness for the moment of eternity. I think of the omniscience I grant myself accordingly, for I count on nothing but my will and world.
Here lies the answer…What is yours?
Rania Tahboub is a Palestinian English teacher and a former trainer at Al-Nayzak Organization for Supportive Education and Scientific Innovation. She Has a degree in English Language and Literature with minor in Business Administration from Bethlehem University. She is interested in reading and creative writing in various topics, such as gender issues, exile literature and other topics.