In the darkest of my days, I am bolstered by the thought that the world existed before I came and will go on existing long after I have perished. That my death will not cause some irrevocable tear in the time-space continuum provides me with some reassurance that life is not as fragile as we all make it out to be.
Yes, people we love die and we grieve them. We fondly recall the days when they were here and we wish for that one last chat. But as I am learning to live with the loss of my mother, I cannot help but think about my own death and knowing the world will go on without me makes me feel like no matter when it happens, it will be alright.
A few years ago, I travelled with my family to Athens, Greece and we stayed in the neighborhood called Psiri (sometimes spelled Psyri)–one of the oldest neighborhoods in Athens. Today it is an arts district and our apartment was an airy, funky space with the Parthenon visible from the roof and graffiti decorating the street level buildings.
But what was remarkable about the neighborhood is that in among the more modern buildings were essentially ruins, old colonnade facades of buildings that were somewhat crumbled and overgrown but still standing. And actually, all over Athens you are confronted with the enduring power of humanity, these monuments to life going on despite dire predictions to the contrary. I find great reassurance in that, even if I won’t be around to see it.
Of course, I will die one day and hopefully I will be no longer be a fool.
But today I am still foolish and semi-young and I’m glad to know the trees and the birds will flutter and flit in the wind like they have for centuries. I am reassured by the regular rise of the sun day after day and the change of the seasons rolling gently but expectedly through their cycles year after year.
It makes me feel part of something greater than myself. The world keeps turning and dancing and playing its magical games. Like an amusement park ride that runs over and over, day after day, the thrills just keep on coming. We, each of us, only get one ride, but it offers untold thrills.
Aren’t we just lucky to have our go at it?