No Mere Mortals: A November Reflection

It is during the month of November, which begins with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day if you are familiar with the Roman Catholic feast days, that we remember our beloved departed. Though I have been so lucky as to never have experienced the passing of someone very near to me, there is one lesson that I always take away from these observances: love the people around you like there is no tomorrow. Because realistically, there may not be. If you hold it true that we are immortal souls housed in our mortal bodies (as I do), then there is a more profound occurrence than mere death in death and a more complex reality than mere life in life. In one of the truest, best and most beautiful passages that I have ever read, C.S. Lewis describes what a person who believes in eternity really sees when beholding the persons around him:

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.

It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.

There are no ordinary people.

You have never talked to a mere mortal.

Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.

But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn.

We must play.

But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”

Or, in everyday English: let’s run the thrilling race of life together, knowing full well that we are headed toward eternal joy and glory (and puppies as my little brother likes to remind me).

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4: Remember This

My most profuse apologies, as I failed to post a poem yesterday!  It was a Friday, though, so I hope we all were occupied with our revelry and full-fledged living. To make up for it, one of my absolute favorites by one of my absolute favorites:

Death, be not proud
By: John Donne
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.