Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Good Day to Die

It was several years ago that I crossed paths with the notion of one day or another being a good day to die. To the woman who shared it with we her students at the time, it was more than a notion. It was her posture, her orientation toward life. Daily, she explained, she would ask herself, "Is this a good day to die?" If the answer was no, it was a her cue that something was out of place, undone, unresolved, neglected in her midst and she would make it her business (her passion, her mission, her delight) to reverse that. There was nothing morbid about her question; it wasn't a question about dying, really, but a question about living. And it inspired me.

Walking to the corner today to mail two overdue thank yous, I noticed the change in the autumn landscape in only one day's time. How the the tapestry of color, the profile, the arrangement had progressed. And how different it all looked in this day's gray gloom: soft, sensual, subdued. "What a great day to be alive," I thought. "Like every day, " I thought. "If it's not, there's something to clear." Not a good day? Get clear, I thought. Simple.

I dropped the letters in the mailbox and turned toward home. Yes, it's a good day to be alive. But is it a good day to die? I posed, remembering my former teacher's philosophy. The answer came quickly: No. There are beneficiaries to name, there's a will to write, a new client to call, and more. Not for the sake of "getting my house in order" as we say, no. To make it a good day to die is to embrace what matters most to do or be --just, yes, just as if there wouldn't be another day--and to do or be that with relish.

For me, today, writing this was part of that. As for the rest... away we go!


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