Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Imagining Thinking You Could Die

One of my students recently wrote a paper about the American author Gary Paulsen. In reviewing one book my student wrote, "Like Brian did in the first book the Hatchet, eventually he relaxes and everything is fine for a while but he always had that thought in the back of his mind that he might not ever be found and 'I could die out here'. Can you imagine thinking you could die? Wouldn't that challenge the hope and faith in everything you believe in?"

I was startled by his understanding of death. I realized that his rhetorical question about imagining thinking you could die was something I didn't have to imagine. I realize that going to the Middle East, I could die. It isn't something I have to try to understand. In addition, it doesn't challenge my hope and faith. This is because my hope and faith are in the knowledge of God's love and that I will die someday and be with Him.

On a more realistic level for modern Americans, we need to know that we could die any time on any day. For example, one of my pastor's favorite sayings is that you could walk outside and get hit by the 7-up truck. I haven't ever seen a 7-up truck, although it is fun to say (you should try it). Anyway, there are car crashes, wierd diseases, all sorts of accidents could kill you.Any of us could die. You really could die out here.


mreddie said...

So many folks don't realize that you can't really live until you are ready to die. I'm thinking that they sneak in the 7-ups in the Pepsi truck, so just watch out for all the trucks bearing sodas - and all the rest too - and all the cars - and motorcycles - and bicycles - and runners. :) ec

Nathan said...

I think it's healthy to have at least one experience in life which throws that into relief for you. It has happened for me, I know, more than once.

The unfortunate part is that it is always easy to go back, to take things for granted, and not to enjoy the time we are given as we should. I try to remind myself of this every time I am tempted to sit down in front of a TV.