Memento Mori, is Latin (a dead language) for Remember Death. Seems morbid at first, remembering death, but it’s the part of life we all will face. It’s the final test, the great sleep, the last awakening. Death is as much a part of life as love. But, we don’t like to talk about it. Maybe it’s because we can’t control it. Maybe it’s because it chooses us, not the other way around. Maybe it’s because it reminds us that everything we’ve done, everything we’ve built will eventually and ultimately be left behind for others to pillage and disregard.
The biggest problem I have with death is its finality. It’s just so… final. Once something is dead (not withstanding Jesus) that’s… well… that’s it. That’s just not the American Way. We’re about the pursuit; we’re about doing more, getting more. Something that tells us, “It’s over now” is by nature offensive. Think about angry we get when our phones die. “Are you kidding me!!”
The big game’s over?! Nope. Overtime.
The files gone?! Nope. Backup.
I missed the show?! Nope. DVR.
Plant died?! Oww… I guess, I’ll throw it away.
The finality of death is embodied in the funeral. It’s the last time you’ll see your loved one, it’s the last time you’re in the same room, it’s the last rose you’ll give them. But the funeral has a duality to it. It’s simultaneously about honoring their memory and life and bringing closure to those left behind; which is the true power of the funeral.
The truth is, I actually like funerals. Not that I enjoy death or the pain of loss but there’s something about listening to best friends, family, children eulogize their parents. We say things about them that we’d never say to them, we open our hearts, become vulnerable (if only for a moment) and share what it means to do life together. While the speaker shares defining moments of their relationship the hearers realize they have all the same story; and smiles silently to themselves.
There are always those at a funeral who, out of obligation or an elbow to the ribs, are in attendance without a significant relationship to the departed. The best funerals make you wish you had taken the time or had the opportunity to meet this person in their prime.
The second inescapable reality of a funeral is the moment when you selfishly, unknowingly, and inevitably are captured by a sense of your own mortality. No matter who you are, it’s going to happen. Somewhere between the sad songs and children sitting on their mothers laps, the thought crosses your mind – “What’s going to happen when I die?”
See, it’s not until we’re faced with death do we remember death. It’s not until we are reminded that everyone’s story ends the same way do even wonder what our story will say. What would happen if we lived with death in mind? What would happen if we “Memento Mori” – Remember death.
Again, not in a morbid, the-end-is-near, refuse to live sort of way but just the opposite; a full, vibrant life, not focused on hunting and gathering all that we can for the here and now, but reminded that the life to come is both better and eternal. What if we lived like Heaven is actually our final destination? What if we lived like people were better than possessions? What if we lived like memories were better than money?
There isn’t a room, there isn’t a building that could hold a funeral for life that size.
More importantly the lives that would be impacted would cause ripples for generations to come. A life that selfless, a life that forward focused could change everything.
How are you living your life? What will be said of you when it’s all said and done? Will they speak of your amazing home, your sterling career, or will they speak of a man, will they tell of a woman whose life change theirs and everyone around them. I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my life has other names attached to it. When I enter Heaven I plan on reserving a spot for the other people I’m bringing with me.
The story of my death will be the lives I’ve touched.
What about yours? How will you live? Will you live for yourself or will you live for others? Will you live with the end in mind? Will you – Memento Mori?
“It is not length of life, but depth of life.”
Emerson Ralph Waldo
“I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.”
“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”