Over the past two years, with the development of COVID, I have become more aware of how the vast majority of the population fears death. Because of this fear, people tend to focus more on preserving life through limiting how they live. This preservation of life tends to lead people to feel the need to control others’ way of life to ensure their safety. This need to preserve life also leads to irrational, panicked decisions based on emotions rather than logical, well informed decisions. By trying to avoid what is ultimately inevitable, people limit their ability to truly live, which, in turn, invites an early death. Overall, living in fear is not really living at all.
Why is death something to be feared? For some, it’s the fear of leaving loved ones. For others, it might be the fear of the unknown of what comes next. Whatever the reason, I feel it is fair to say that there are reasons to fear death. But, death is inevitable. As the saying goes, “There are only two guarantees in life; death and taxes.” Death will happen whether we want it to or not. We may think we can “prolong” life, but in reality, all we are doing is postponing the inevitable in ways that keep us from truly living.
Life is precious. Life is fleeting. When we understand these concepts, instead of boxing up our lives, we should enjoy every minute we get. Life is too precious to limit our ability to live because of our irrational fear of dying. I call it an irrational fear, because dying is inevitable. I compare it to someone who is afraid that the sun might kill them, so they constantly shut themselves in their house, draw the blinds, and never see daylight. Over time, they limit their body to life giving vitamins and minerals provided by the sunlight. Ultimately, their fear brings a quicker death than if they just got over their fear of the sun and lived their life.
If life is about living in a box with padded rooms and having irrational fears, then life is not worth living. But that’s not what life is about. Life is about enjoying what we are given: the opportunity to explore, have adventure, pursue happiness, and most importantly build community and relationships. Life is about bettering those around us through positive encouragement, support, and most importantly love. When we stop focusing on ourselves and needing for ourselves to feel safe, we no longer worry what happens to us and the idea that we might die.
Fearing death creates an attitude of control and limits one’s ability to live in freedom. Instead of accepting the inevitable and living each moment as if it was a gift, people who fear death try to force others to comply with their irrational thinking and turn something sweet and beautiful into something miserable and limited. As Bill Keane said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” We would never keep a present in a box in fear that it might get broken. Instead, we take the present out of the box, knowing the risks of doing so, and enjoy the present we have been given. Fear limits our ability to enjoy what we have been blessed with.
In summary, fearing death keeps you from truly living. Instead of fearing what will inevitably occur, embrace the opportunities and time you have been given now. Don’t allow fear to keep you from truly living. Embrace what may come, pursue happiness, and don’t hinder yourself or others through irrational, emotional fear. After all, living in fear keeps you from living at all.
As always, stay humble and serve well!