The Cause Was Not Reported

An article from the February 26, 2014 edition of the Washington Post left me scratching my head.

“Alice Herz-Sommer, a concert pianist who was widely believed to be the oldest survivor of the Holocaust and who became known around the world for her belief in the redemptive power of music, died Feb. 23 at a hospital in London. She was 110.

So far so good, right? The best part of this obituary was yet to come, however.

The cause of death, the obit stated in its conclusion, “was not reported”. “Was not reported”? Really? How about the fact that she was 110 years of age!

We fear it. We fight it. We worry about it. Yet, the simple fact is this: One of the most freeing—and life giving—truths man can accept is the reality of his own inevitable death. The sooner we accept the inevitability of death, the sooner we can get on with the business of life.

Sure, accidents will happen. Illnesses will attack us. Bad things will interrupt our journey. Most of the time we simply can’t do much about it. So why worry?

As I think back on the many vibrant, dynamic people I have had the joy of knowing in my life they were all people consumed with living, not obsessed with dying. I have learned from them that to cower behind fear of accident or illness or calamity or death is to lose the joy of living. That is not a bargain I wish to make.

Jesus himself reminds us of the wastefulness and futility of such a bargain.

“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27) The implied answer is, “Of course not.” In fact, just the opposite is the reality. Worry destroys us. It eats away at our joy and our smile and our ability to walk out the front door into a world God gave us to enjoy.

Live fearlessly. Enjoy life. That is what I intend to do. I am on a journey to live life and to squeeze as much joy and good work out of it as I can.

I am going to die. Something– be it cancer or a drunk driver—may rob me of my life, it is true. Then again, who knows? I might just make it to110 and die, not of old age, but of wearing myself out in joyful living.

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