Death Be Not Feared

We heard on the news yesterday that Colin Powell died. It feels like he's been around ever since I was conversing about politics.

Powell's death hit me similar to when I'm watching one of those Awards shows and they have the section called "In Memoriam." As they list the names of those who died in the past year, there are always a few that make me think, "Oh not... not [so and so]. When?"

Poet, essayist, and philosopher Audre Lorde writes:

“In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light, and what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid?”

Lorde was dying from cancer when she wrote these words. That last line stops my breath: "Of what had I ever been afraid?" There are strains of Psalm 23 in this.

It makes me wonder if sometimes I let my fears and desires control me rather than living from my place of peace and joy.

Tell a wise person or else keep silent
for those who do not understand
will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive
what longs to be burned to death….
…And so long as you have not experienced
this: to die and so to grow
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.
                                — johann wolfgang von goethe