Memento Mori, Memento Vitae

11 11 2007

As I type this, I’m recovering from what has turned-out to be a week-long illness. What started out as the flu threatened to become dengue fever, which has now left me to mop-up a respiratory system infection.

Needless to say, this has resulted in a lot of bed rest – time spent staring at the ceiling and, while the dengue fever threat was very real, thinking about dying.

It’s been a long time since I seriously entertained the idea of dying – I wish I could say it’s because I was too busy living, but this past week has shown me it was more like I was too-busy going through the motions of living. Suddenly, there I was, trying to sort out what I would say to whom. I was thinking about all the things I’ve been waiting to learn and experience and the possibility that I would never get the opportunity to do so was more than mildly depressing.

On one of my trips to visit the doctor, I remember seeing a woman wearing a shirt on which was printed, “It’s All About Me”. And I remember thinking that death has a very effective way of redirecting our perspective, because frankly, when faced with dying, our lives suddenly seem so tiny, so meaningless – like how could anyone have been so foolish to build their lives around themselves?

I myself discovered that being able to conduct an orchestra isn’t  that big a deal…in fact, in and of itself, it’s not very meaningful.  I came to the same conclusion with pretty much every activity I could think of, be it my running around the soccer field or even teaching in class. For all my talents, abilities, and learning, I couldn’t shake-off the feeling of utter smallness.

I still can’t, actually.

So what now? Quit my job? Do something else other than teach? Not likely. I still love teaching…and conducting, and running around the soccer-field for that matter. I simply realized that the activity itself is devoid of meaning and worth…if God is not present. How many times have I waded into the classroom without even the slightest consideration for God and His hand in the matter? How many times have I obsessed over the details of a rehearsal and forgotten that music comes from Him?

Indeed, this week I have found that when God is forgotten, everything loses its meaning, and man merely deludes himself into thinking that the universe revolves around him, clinging to the illusion that his life is grand and valuable until Death gives him an extremely rude awakening.

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.”…Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.      – Ecclesiastes 12:1, 6, 7




One response

15 11 2007

funny. i was thinking about the book of ecclesiastes while reading your post then i reached the verses at its bottom.

nice. glad you are alive and living a meaningful life.


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