The current US average lifespan is seventy-six years for men and eighty-one years for women. The earth is currently about four and a half billion years old. Moral being, our lives are but a miniscule footnote on the timeline of the universe’s existence. Nothing reminds me to appreciate this tiny window of time called life as much as the thought of how fragile it really is.
A few years back I was driving up the road home one night and as I drove over a hill I saw a wall of light reflecting in front of me. I didn’t know what I was looking at until I had mashed the break and the front of my jeep was within inches of a massive tree laying across the road at the bottom of the hill. I hastily reversed and spun around, headlights of another driver immediately coming over the hill. I flickered my lights at the driver, but they couldn’t possibly have stopped in time. The sound of their vehicle colliding into the tree was deafening. I knew instantly if they weren’t wearing a seatbelt they weren’t alive. A moment later a police officer coincidently drove over the hill and stopped upon my signaling. I drove away as he ran to check on the passengers, and minutes later as I pulled into my driveway I heard the sirens of several emergency vehicles rushing to the scene.
What I think about often when I ponder death as one does, is what it must be like for those of religious or spiritual faith to face the idea of death, looking forward to an afterlife. Death in my mind is a very permanent thing; an abruptly serene stillness after a wild existence blurred by – as if speeding into a fallen tree in the road.