Thursday, February 4, 2010

Old age and death

I used to think of old age and death as cruel and foreign -- as unjust and undeserved punishments imposed upon us.

As I've gotten older, that's changed. I'm starting to see them as intentional -- and as merciful.

First, death. It used to seem to horrible. But as I grow up, it seems more and more like a merciful sleep. As though I could die tomorrow without fear, because either a) it's just sleeping, or b) there's some sort of eternal life afterwards. I'm thinking a is more likely, but it doesn't really matter, because neither sound so bad.

And what would eternal life be after all? Would I really want to do that? When I was young and spoiled and got whatever I wanted, sure. But now I'm old and I have a lot of responsibilities. I figure as I grow older, my responsibilities will increase. Those are exhausting. Rest sounds good. Because adulthood is not as fun as childhood.

And then I started to think about old age, and how it makes life more and more uncomfortable. Almost mercifully, it prepares us for death by making life less fun. We grow tired just as it becomes time to rest.

I tend to think the Designer(s) gave us death because eternal life would be cruel punishment on a planet of so much work and pain; and they gave us old age to make death more appealing than scary.