Monday, September 18, 2006

The death next door

Mills of the gods

There were all kinds of things I was planning to write about today.Then I got to work to find an e-mail that a former law partner, a guy that practiced in the office next to mine for awhile, had passed away Sunday. He was younger than I am and left behind a wife and two young children.Death follows us around like an big unshakable black dog. Every time you think you have lost him, you look behind and there he is again. As you age he gets closer and closer and he now seems to never be out of my sight. I am not so worried about him catching me, although that will happen soon enough, but this constant loss of people you know, each a mini death to ones self in its own in way, is a dark discouragement. Age is not simply a slow decay, it is a persistent withering away of people that are close to you. The irony of life is that the winner in the longevity race is often left utterly alone. Except for the large black dog at your heel. I used to think that one of the keys to happiness was keeping that large black dog at your heel and outside of your mind. If you focus too much on the inevitability that either you will die soon, or after all of your friends have left you, it makes life seem just a little bit futile. It makeds our daily work seem incredibly trivial.But of late I have been thinking that maybe that part of it is not all bad.Maybe what we waste our time doing on this earth is far too trivial and sometimes the very closeness and persistence of the big black dog calls that to our attention. If the death of another helps us to more enjoy the time we have here, then it does have some value. If it helps us turn to that dog and pet it, throw him a stick to retrieve and get used to him as a companion that is simply guiding you home, then it is not in vain.

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