We may wonder what is it to die. It is usually the fear of death that follows the fear of life. When we live fully, we don't worry about dying; we are prepared to die at any time. Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding its cocoon. It is just a transition to a higher state of consciousness where we continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

It should not be the end of the physical body that should worry us. Our concern must be to live while we are alive; to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a curtain designed to conform to outer definition of who and what we are. It is when we live with hostility, bitterness, anger, resentments, defeated or dishonored life that we die every day.

When we know and understand that we have a limited time on earth and we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will try to live each day to the fullest, as if it's the only one we have.

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in a manner so that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.-Native American Proverb

To understand more about the glimpse of eternal life, here's the sermon of Dr. Peter Marshall titled, Go Down Death, based on James 4:14: For what is your life?

It was Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 when he delivered the sermon to a regiment of midshipmen in the Naval Academy at Annapolis. In the chapel before him was the graduating class, young men who in a few days would receive commissions and go on duty.

In a home of which I know, a little boy, the only son was ill with an incurable disease. Month after month the mother had tenderly nursed him, read to him, and played with him, hoping to keep him from realizing the dreadful finality of the doctor’s diagnosis. But as the weeks went on and he grew no better, the little fellow gradually began to understand that he would never be like the other boys he saw playing outside his window and, small as he was, he began to understand the meaning of the term death, and he, too, knew that he was to die.

One day his mother had been reading to him the stirring tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table: of Lancelot and Guinevere and Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat, and of that last glorious battle in which so many fair knights met their death.

As she closed the book, the boy sat silent for an instant as though deeply stirred with the trumpet call of the old English tale, and then asked the question that had been weighing on his childish heart: “Mother, what is it like to die? Mother, does it hurt?”

Quick tears sprang to her eyes and she fled to the kitchen supposedly to tend to something on the stove. She knew it was a question with deep significance. She knew it must be answered satisfactorily. So she leaned for an instant against the kitchen cabinet, her knuckles pressed white against the smooth surface, and breathed a hurried prayer that the Lord would keep her from breaking down before the boy and would tell her how to answer him.

And the Lord did tell her. Immediately she knew how to explain it to him.

“Kenneth,” she said as she returned to the next room, “you remember when you were a tiny boy how you used to play so hard all day that when night came, you would be too tired even to undress, and you would tumble into mother’s bed and fall asleep? That was not your bed…it was not where you belonged. And you stayed there only a little while.

In the morning, much to your surprise, you would wake up and find yourself in your own bed in your own room. You were there because someone had loved you and taken care of you. Your father had come, with big strong arms, and carried you away. Kenneth, death is just like that. We just wake up some morning to find ourselves in the other room, our own room where we belong, because the Lord Jesus loves us.”

The lad’s shining, trusting face looking up into hers told her that the point had gone home and that there would be no more fear … only love and trust in his little heart as he went to meet the Father in Heaven.

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.-Norman Cousins

After Peter Marshall had finished the service at Annapolis and as he and his wife Catherine were driving back to Washington that afternoon, suddenly the program on the car radio was interrupted. The announcer’s voice was grave: “Ladies and Gentlemen. Stand by for an important announcement. This morning the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor was bombed.”

Within a month, many of the boys to whom Peter Marshall had just preached would go down to hero’s graves in strange waters. Soon all of them would be exposed to the risks and dangers of war, and Dr. Peter Marshall, under God’s direction, that very morning had offered them the defining metaphor about the reality of everlasting life.

If not for death, would we appreciate life? There is no joy without hardship. If not for hate, would we know the ultimate goal is love?  We can either hold on to negativity and look for blame, or we can choose to heal and keep on loving.

By Tim Pedrosa

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We run after values that, at death, become zero. At the end of our life, nobody asks us how many degrees we have, how many mansions we built, nor how many Rolls Royce's we could afford. That’s what dying patients teach us.