Like the tick of a clock, death inevitably visits each of us and then vanishes like silence into the night.
In a simple word, death follows each of us throughout our lives. Some, like Thomas Wolfe, say death is a “proud brother” while others say it is a grim reaper. Whatever one’s perspective, each of us at a certain age of vulnerability understands that any sudden sharp pain casts an immediate pall over the certainty of our lives.
Death indeed makes each of us fragile. When it enters of life’s orbit, it too often marries us to a stricken grief still our last day on this earth.
More than 600,000 people have died from the Covid pandemic—and they left behind millions of grieving family and friends. These family and friends will never truly heal just as the families of the Surfside collapse will never view the sun as brightly as before the collapse. They know this now as they stand before shrines, photos, and flowers gifted to those who death claimed without rhyme or reason that dark early morning.
Gun violence has turned our cities into war zones, claiming lives of the guilty and the innocent. The blood is spilled and wiped away leaving no trace of life except in the memories of those left behind.
We know not why a deranged person walks into a former workplace and slaughters former friends and associates. We know not why teenage gang members trade gunfire in the streets where innocent children play.
The six o’clock news brings us after dinner a steady diet of stabbings, shootings, car crashes, and neighbor attacking neighbor—all of which brings the reminder of death into our living rooms forcing us to confront our own fragile existence.
We have been forced to collectively realize that at least one-third of this nation—more than one hundred million people—either advocate for or express an acceptance of civil war on our soil. These civil war buffs want to transform the landscape of all our lives into boiling hot volcanic lava with no end in sight.
And for what?
Half of this country hates the other half, so the warped one-third believes the best way to resolve the half-on-half dispute is to have a bloody civil war.
All the parades, fireworks displays, and holiday celebrations offer no real solace and peace. They are mere interludes that momentarily take us away from the rage, frustration, and anger that now resides in the soul of this nation.
And all the while death sits at the river’s edge, smiling and waiting for all these lost souls to come his way.
The French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre said that we come from nothing, live for nothing, and pass into nothingness.
But how does something come from nothing?
Scientists say we came from the Big Bang.
Okay, so where the fuck did the Big Bang come from?
Rest assured of one thing: death does not give a plug nickel about any of this philosophical mind-tingling shit. It simply feasts off mankind’s primal instinct to destroy, plunder and kill off all life forms.
Some at the CDC say that the Covid pandemic made us more prone to violence.
That raises the interesting question of how many people have died because of the pandemic, not by it.
A philosopher once wrote that the world will never know peace until the last general is strangled by the entrails of the last priest.
Perhaps so – but I think this world will never know peace until death has summoned its last victim across the river.
That does not mean life cannot be better. It can be. But first we must learn how to make a better future and dislodge the grip of our violent, evil past. Good can triumph over evil but it must earn the right to do so.