Today, across America, we say, “Happy Memorial Day”. It’s kind of a strange greeting for a holiday to remember those who died in military service. I think many American’s try to be Happy by avoiding thinking about death part of this holiday. But we should all think about death today–done right it can even make today more deeply “Happy.”
Every exceptional life includes–maybe even depends on–considering your own death. Many people can go years and years without having the idea of their death rudely interrupting their life. But however much we don’t like it, we are all going to die. In fact, we are already dying–albeit slowly.
So what’s so good about this morbid thinking? Doesn’t this ruin our ability to have a “Happy Memorial Day”?
Our death puts our life in perspective. It redefines what really matters to us. When you’re thinking about living a great life, you should begin by imagining yourself on your deathbed, with only a few minutes left to live. What kind of life would allow you to arrive at that deathbed and be truly satisfied?
And not only should you imagine dying old and deeply satisfied, but you can think about how you would feel if, God forbid, an accident ends your life one week from now. What does this next week need to look like?
Facing your death shines a harsh, bright light on how you’re living today. And while it’s never a playful experience, if you’re life is headed towards a great deathbed experience–where you’ll be satisfied at how you lived and what impact you had–then it doesn’t have to be especially sad or painful. In a sober, adult way, it can be pleasing (i.e. “happy”) to discover that you’re spending your life on things that matter.
So, praying that your life is headed towards a satisfying deathbed, I’m wishing you a Happy Memorial Day.