We humans have an obsession with out living our lives. We want to be remembered. In his song glorious, Macklemore embodies the sentiment with this line,
“I heard you die twice, once when they bury you in the grave. And the second time is the last time that somebody mentions your name.”
We don’t like the idea of living a life that doesn’t have some type of legacy attached to it.
Back in high school my youth group leader took a bunch of us to a cemetery. He told us to walk around and see what was written on the stones. When we got back together, we all shared what we discovered. Then he asked us what would be written on ours.
This does one of two things - it inspires, or it stifles. It stifles when you put the emphasis on your own individual self. In my instance, if all I’m focusing on is the legacy of Mike Christie, I’m always working to define what that is. And, as a result, I never end up standing for anything but self-interest.
But it inspires when you attach yourself to something greater than the self. When you attach yourself to a theme with power and timelessness. Say love.
Anthony de Mello said the following,
”For instant peace of mind return to earth in fantasy a thousand years from now in search of what remains of your existence.”
This quote embodies it all. Your own finite existence, that flesh on your body and what it does, it’s not really what matters. But what you attach yourself to - love, hate, peace, war, hope. Those are the eternal things. The things that if you were to come back a thousand years from now you’d still find, and you could jump right back into participation with them.
There are religions that talk about eternal life. They see it as after this one. But I’m skeptical of that. I think an eternal life is a life that rids of the ego and begins to enter into the vein of ways eternal. And that can be things that have tormented us for eternity - hatred, pain, anger, etc. Or it can those things that are heavenly, those divine things - love, selflessness, humility, friendship, peace. And we always, always have the ability to chose which eternity we want to be in tune with.