Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Illusion of Immortality


We humans are so self-deluding when it comes to our mortality. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, each one of us seems to think that he will be the exception to the rule, that he will live forever.

We take up hobbies to "pass the time," and we sit around just "killing time," as if we have so much of it stored up that we don't know what to do with it; as if we have a thousand dreary years of life coming down the pike.

As if life was more than just a handful of sand, pouring through the hourglass as I write these words.

I'm guilty too. Oh yeah, there are important things I must do; I want to get involved in human rights work; I want to make some changes in my personal life, master martial arts, memorize the Qur'an, write a novel, make a movie... but there's plenty of time, right?

Auugggghhh! Wake up, Wael. In the best case scenario, your life is half over. Worst case, you're on the final stretch right now, just waiting for that mid-life coronary that will keel you over like an old tree in the wind. And there you'll be, facing Allah, trying to account for yourself and the life you lived.

Somehow I don't think that on Judgement Day I'll be thinking, "I wish I'd watched a few more episodes of the Andy Griffith Show." Or, "I wish I'd had a bigger tagua collection."

No, I'll be thinking, "I wish I had lived a truly unselfish life. I wish I had spent more time with my family. I wish I had left behind something meaningful that would live on in my absence: built a masjid, planted trees, written a book that would move people, passed on knowledge, or saved a life."

Maybe I'd better start making those changes and living those dreams right now. Except that it's 1:13 am now and I'm going to bed as soon as I post this. First thing tomorrow, I'll get started. What was it I was going to do, again?

1 comment:

Laura Hale said...

The driven enthusiasm of living each day as though it may be your last to compel oneself to greatness is not sustainable--not necessary.

I believe there is value in simply BEING;the "key" to living a full and meaningful existence residing within our decision making every moment of every day-mindful intent.

Product is no more valuble than process--most would agree. We live however with the anchor of a product based value system around our minds.

Once in a yoga class the yogi had me performing a pose that brought my face close to the floor. It seemed to me that to reach the floor would prove the greatest achievment within the pose. As I worked to stretch, perhaps overly, and lengthen my body bringing my face closer to the floor the yogi noticed many in the class working toward the same goal. With his own pose placing his face some distance from the floor he related this:

"When you reach the floor you will find...you have reached the floor."