It is still too early in the year to talk about life and death, and it is too early for my age indeed. Most of us think that death is a word that does not exist – ten out of ten people will die, yes, but it will happen 50, 60, or even 70 years from now. It will happen when we are done with our lives, when we have lived our every hope and dream, when we are old, sick, and have nothing left to do. It will happen when we are ready to greet death like an old friend. And for some of us, it seems like it will happen in another life.
People say that they will always remember where they were on September, 11. Some wives were readying their children to go to school, not knowing that their husbands whom they had just kissed goodbye would not be coming home for dinner. Some children were eating breakfast, when suddenly their favourite cartoon channel was changed to the heartbreaking news. Yet some people were in that tower, with the innocence they had when they first entered the building – it’d be just another Tuesday morning. Little did they know that hundreds of thousands will never walk out of that front door ever again.
On other occasions we will see the newspaper every morning full of stories of horror. Natural disasters that took lives. Murders, terrorism, accidents. The tsunami in Japan. The earthquake in Christchurch. The Titanic. And if you are plugged in, you will know the story of Ben Breedlove.
Entering 2012, people make new year resolutions. They edit and re-edit their hopes and dreams’ list, wanting to start something new. People have new plans, new ideas, new creativity for 2012. They then assign the colours – bright and beautiful red for their romance, envious green for their income, happy-go-lucky yellow for their holidays, cheerful blue for their relationships, and hopefully, no more pitch black this year. They hope for the best, praying that this year will be better than last year.
People, are preparing to live, sometimes, as if they are going to live forever.
I wonder how will life be spent if we are doing the opposite.
Leonardo Da Vinci said it once, “While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.”
Preparing to live, I think, in a sense, doesn’t really make much sense because we are already living in the moment. Sometimes it looks like we want to do something better, tomorrow, and not today. I wonder if we are preparing to die, will we do the best that we can today, instead of tomorrow?
There are odd days, once in a while, when I’m reminded of what will happen if I die tomorrow. No more studying, no more writing, no more loving, no more drinking my cup of hot tea while watching movies, no more me. Yes, I have lived a life, but it is still far from what I have always visioned it to be. Am I ready? Heck, I don’t think I ever will. Not even when I’m in my 80s, ‘cos I know one day when I am 85 I will look at my spouse on whom I have lived with for more than 50 years and say, “I want to live one more day to love you.”
But when time’s up, well, time’s up.
I tend to believe that people, during their final moments, will come terms to death in their own ways. Some never will, for sure, either because they don’t want to or they simply don’t have the time.
And here’s the ultimate question when it comes to death: do you believe in God?
Do you believe in the existence of heaven?
I read this story once. A little boy asked his mother why people have different skin colours, and finally he asked what skin colour does God have. The mother replied, “God is the colour of water.”
Most people will begin 2012 by writing about success, wishes, and dreams; to improve, to be better, to be richer, to be smarter, to be one level up. Yet I want to remind myself that life has all colours – from its red romance, to blue relationships, and even the black death. Sometimes we forget, but death is always a part of life. And when all is said and done, I believe life will only have one colour – the colour of water – for it has tasted and experienced all: broken hearts, successes, love, failures, death of a loved one, and finally our own. And I believe God has the same colour too.
So what is the colour of water?
It’s the colour of peace and stillness. The colour that brings life, and draws everything towards its center. It’s the colour of none, but it’ll be the one colour that makes me ready to greet death as an old friend.