The life cycle we struggle with so much
Life. This we understand.
We’re born, we grow up, we do things, we own things, we get old, we die. That’s pretty much it. To make matters worse, we’re participants in this thing we call life. We take part in a game designed for us by others. Our parents, mentors, society.
Before you object to what I’ve said, answer me this.
Is your life meaningful? Do you know who you are and what you’re here to do?
I thought not.
My life wasn’t meaningful, either. Until I dug deep to discover why my little voice kept on asking me “Is this it?” for much of my adult life. That’s where I found the meaning.
Making my life meaningful changed everything. For me. For those I serve.
I didn’t understand death any better. And I’m guessing that you don’t, either.
When beings I loved died, I saw it as an ending. A final act. I couldn’t imagine finding that love again elsewhere. At least, not for a long time.
A lot of this stemmed from my belief system at the time. I told myself I couldn’t bear this type of heartbreak again. I also told myself that ‘replacing’ this being in my life would be disloyal to the one who had died.
I felt guilty. About a lot of things.
- Whether she knew I loved her.
- Whether I’d done right by him.
- Having feelings of happiness or love ‘too soon’ after the death.
- Not having enough love in me. So, I’d have to love him less to have enough love for someone new.
Turns out, I was as wrong about death as I was about life.
If life is meant to be meaningful, then death is meant to be enriching.
This is how nature works. A Western red-cedar tree knows exactly what it’s here to do. To be the best possible Western red-cedar tree. It spend its whole life doing this. And then it dies.
When a Western red-cedar tree dies and falls to the forest floor, it leaves its richness behind. Its wealth of nutrients are there to give life to all that inhabit the forest. Insects, animals, other trees.
In death, the Western red-cedar tree leaves its world richer, primed for new life.
And in death, we humans also leave our world richer, primed for new life. If those left behind could only see it.
When beings we love die, the pain we feel breaks open our hearts. This can prime us for even deeper love, for even deeper connections.
Or it can prime us to close down.
If we are to honour those who die, then we, too, must use the richness they leave behind. The lifetime of happy memories. The heartbreak from their death.
We must use this to give ourselves more life. To become more human. To love and connect with others more deeply. To be more compassionate. Not to waste a scrap of what these beings gave us through their lives.
Life, death, and life. Meaning, enrichment, deeper meaning.
Nature’s cycle is ours, too. Believe it.