11. ~SOUNDINGS~: PART 3 – The Obstacles | 11th Essay – Death

by Frank L. Jordan III

11. Death

Photo courtesy of Nicholas A. Tonelli



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When someone’s bodily functions cease

     at the conclusion of a long and productive life,

          when the causes of that dying

          are as natural and painless as possible,

               then it can be said that a person has experienced

               a relatively harmless death.

For death is so natural, so much a part

     of existing in this world,

          that to experience it as a final, quiet passing

          is a blessing—albeit the last blessing

               in a long line of the many blessings

               that can make up an earthly life.


I once heard that in Earth’s prehistoric past

     there were organisms that seemed to live forever,

          were virtually immortal—like jellyfish—

          but the price they paid for their immortality

               was that they were unable to progress and evolve.

Then nature invented death,

     and the obstacles to evolution were eliminated.

What an intriguing idea, that death was invented

     so that organisms could evolve,

          that death was essential for those organisms to evolve.

It kind of puts death in a different light, doesn’t it?

Not an altogether positive light,

     but not a negative one either—

          death as a necessity,

          instead of as an unnecessary evil.


But often, quite often, a death is not necessary—

     not by our standards, not by anyone’s.


When a disease causes one to die prematurely

     (and a week too soon can be prematurely),

          when an accident ends a young life,

          we are left shocked and confused,

               and depending on our relationship to the departed,

               sometimes totally devastated.


And why not?

We are bound to one another,

     and to our fellow creatures on this planet.

The love and respect we have towards one another—

     and to those animals that we have chosen

          to be a part of our lives—

          that love and respect has emerged

               from the dawn of time to be a dominate impulse

               and emotion in our daily existence.

These are impulses and emotions

     that are the very essence of God,

          and it is God’s work and will that love,

          devotion, and protectiveness fill our lives—

               and the life of this planet.


So our devotion to the life and well-being

     of others and ourselves,

          our dedication to the nurturance

          and protection of these lives,

               are emotions and realities akin

               to the very outpourings of the sacred heart of God.

And yet, sometimes we die prematurely, tragically,

     without any or little warning,

          victims of forces that seem to mock

          the life-embracing purposes of God—

               and the purposes of us,

               the highest expression yet known within this,

                    the unfolding manifestation of God.

So where does God stand in relation

     to this harsh reality of existence?


I’ve come to believe that God neither causes nor wills

     any human being to die prematurely

          from any accident, illness, or animal attack,

          from over-exposure to the elements, starvation,

               or dehydration—much less from any crime,

               recklessness, or suicide.

Apart from the unavoidable death of an assailant

     during an act of self-defense by the one being attacked,

          the sacrificial death of a firefighter or police officer

          in the line of duty,

               or of a military person in defense of their community,

               country, or country’s interests

                    (or really any true sacrifice of life, for that matter),

                    the premature death of any human being

                         is outside of God’s will and purposes.


We are all God’s children.

Do we want our children to suffer and die early, in vain?

Why would God want us to, will us to?

     It wouldn’t make sense.

     It doesn’t make sense.

But what does make sense is that God

     wants us to live long, happy, healthy lives.

And if our lives must be cut short,

     it should be for a damned good reason,

          like as a sacrifice for another or others.


God is hurt when we die prematurely,

     and particularly heartbroken when we die in vain.

So why does this sometimes happen?


It happens because there are realities in this universe,

     occurrences within this unfolding manifestation

          of God’s Ultimate Reality,

          that by the very nature of their existence

               can sometimes hurt us, sometimes kill us.

And God contends with these realities, much like he—

     as the universe undergoes transformation and evolution—

          contends with the realities of elements and energies

          being what they are,

               gravity and electromagnetism

               being what they are,

                    chemical reactions and life processes

                    being what they are,

                         the intrinsic natures of plants, lower animals,

                         and humans, collaborating with him,

                         being what they are,

                              the realities of time and chance

                              being what they are—

                              all of these things being what they are

                                   because they make up a universe

                                   that derives from the very nature of God.

And to derive from the Someone who is God

     is to share in that Someone’s boundless

          essence and reality.


But the harsh realities that can cause us pain

     and premature death do not derive from God

          like the universe and its processes do,

          although the components of these harsh realities do.

Sometimes a tragic event can be a combination

     of chance, timing, and the activity

          of an inorganic phenomenon—

          like when lightning strikes someone.

Sometimes a tragic reality consists of a hostile virus

     or bacteria contaminating the metabolism

          of a much more advanced life form than itself,

          and damaging that body to the point of death.

Sometimes a deadly event occurs

     due to the dementedness of a human mind,

          a mind darkened by either hostility, ignorance,

          irrational fear and loathing,

               dementedness brought on by past traumas,

               brain chemistry gone haywire,

                    or an antisocial make-up—

                    pure, or better yet, impure evil.


The important thing to remember here is that God,

     our comfort and our strength,

          does not want or cause any of these kinds

          of things to happen.

God loves each and every one of us immeasurably,

     wants only for us to live and grow,

          not suffer symptoms or injuries and die in vain.

So our powerful and loving God is in open opposition

     to those dangerous realities in life that are a threat

          to our safety and well-being.

It is a struggle that at times appears hidden,

     but can become more apparent

          when we know what to look for.


Understanding how God interacts and contends

     with certain life-threatening occurrences

          can help us understand why they occur

          the way that they do,

               and why sometimes they are interrupted

               and cease to occur.

It can help us understand how we as laborers

     of love and enlightenment

          can best join God in the struggle against them,

          how we as a race of beings often have, still do,

               and will continue to do so,

               sometimes in amazing, incredible ways—

                    ways that can become

                    even more amazing and incredible

                         in the years ahead.

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