Posted by: Shel | February 20, 2010

The Gift of Mortality

My 4-month-old smiles a lot. She smiles when I pick her up; she smiles when I put her down; she smiles when I change her diaper. A few days ago, during one of these smile-fests as I knelt over her and laughed I saw myself reflected in her happy eyes, and I wished for her eyes to always be laughing and dancing. But, of course, that can never be. There will be joys and there will be sorrows. So it is for us all. Happiness, bitterness, laughter and pain, and ultimately, an end. And one day — presuming things go as I would have them, because the alternative is unthinkable — her beautiful, happy eyes will fill with tears at my funeral.
We are, as far as I know, the only animals who are aware of our own mortality. What a blessing. What a blessing to know our days are numbered. How fortunate we are to know our time here is finite. There is a gift in the knowledge that we have no time to waste.
Look in the eyes of your loved ones — of your children, your spouse, your parents — look there and know that there will come a time when your eyes will never meet again this side of heaven, and let that knowledge spur you to action. Live sincerely. Love openly. Speak with gentleness and kidness, and share with your loved ones all that you have, all that is yours, all that you are. For no one knows when his life will be required of him; no one can say when that day of separation will come. So live genuinely and be present in each moment; be grateful for, and connected to those around you.  And be thankful for the knowledge of the end.



  1. Those are such beautiful words to live by…
    Lindsey Petersen

  2. Beautiful post.

  3. very moving!! to tears! thank you!

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