Someone has said “Only the good die young” and whilst I’m sure that death is no more partial to the good than it is to the not so good there have been moments when I have found myself wondering why a life has been cut short or finished in it’s prime. I found myself in such a place this week.
The music world is replete with talent that has shone for but a moment and then was gone. A number have been victims of their own vices and addictions so paving their own pathways but others have passed through no apparent fault of their own and been cut down in their prime. As such, the world is left with unfilled spaces, gaps left where there should have been music. And I find myself wondering at what could have been.
Then there have been two World Wars where the flower of so much of the worlds youth was lost. So much potential spilt on the muddy fields of Flanders, on the islands of the Pacific or on the harsh Steppes of Russia. Forgotten by all but those with an intimate connection.
Maybe the death of younger people is more easily remembered where there has been a public face, a song that touched us, some words that play on our minds from time to time, all of which give reason for the question, ‘Why?’ to remain hanging in the air.
The expression; “Only the good die young” is an adaption of the original saying attributed to Herodotus around 445BC who wrote; “Whom the God’s love die young” which I guess was intended as a form of comfort for the bereaved who could rest assured that the one they had lost now rested with the God’s in a better place. But one has to wonder if such knowledge is indeed a comfort especially in it’s modern rendering?
The question is always directed, in the final instance, to God as if death is part of some divine plan and each person’s days are finitely numbered by a power that at times can appear capricious. But is God, or Source that deterministic? Indeed, at the risk of sounding flippant, does the force behind all that is, actually have a concern as to when our life here comes to an end? I’m thinking that maybe we’ve overplayed the whole ‘passing away’ thing and that there’s another view, a better view, a truer view.
Could it be that the view taken on death by the majority of people is based on a long taught belief in the possibility of a place called Hell and an eternity of torment if one doesn’t make the cut. Indeed, this teaching that rather contradicts the teaching of a god who is Love, has enabled the religious establishment to hold sway over many peoples for a long time. I can fully understand how appealing it is to use as a method for control, I mean, if you can convince people your way is the way to avoid an oncoming eternity of misery you’ve got to be on a winner.
Think, here we are as those made in the image of God apparently, parenting children in a poor attempt to copy how God parents us, God’s children. As such, are any of us going to allow our children to face a long period of misery if we can prevent it? The poor love that we offer will not allow us to do so, so how can Love itself behave like this? Which begs the question, has God actually made us in God’s image?
Some cry that hell is God’s justice that must be carried out but, honestly guys, what sort of justice requires an eternity of punishment. Only the darkest and most sadistic of minds could contrive such a thing and are we going to attribute those to God?
Maybe if we are able to dismiss the belief of an eternal hell then death does not hold such dread. And if we are able to understand death as going to be with God, as becoming at one with Source, will it become more acceptable to our thoughts? I recently heard a recording of Ram Dass, prior to his own death, compare death to to the “taking off of an ill fitting shoe”. I like that. The thought that things will just get better, more comfortable, more as they should be. That life is a restriction and confinement on our true being. And we can’t imagine that because it’s beyond anything we’ve yet known. Call it Heaven, call it Nirvana, call it Elysium, whatever, we can only guess at it’s qualities and the experience that is to come. Accepted that such guesses will at best be poor.
So maybe death isn’t what we fear. Maybe God is not concerned about it or even plans it for each of us as some teach. Could it be that in dying we are merely shedding the things that hinder us from assuming our truest potential and God doesn’t have a care as to when that will occur. Think how minuscule a human lifetime is, even the longest of lives, when held against eternity. Not even the blink of an eye I’m thinking. The only ones who truly care are those left behind, who feel the pain of separation, and that pain is real. Can we lessen the pain by knowing that death is only a temporary separation, that it is part of a natural process which will see us again with those that were lost? “That the best is”, as said, “yet to come”.
Pogue, food for thought I hope. Again, as we enter the new year, don’t believe all you are taught. Test everything. Ask questions. Seek differing opinions. Be the free thinker you were born to be. You’d be amazed what God can do with an open mind.
Yours, enjoying all the craziness that goes through my head,
5 thoughts on “Only The Good Die Young”
Great metaphor from Ram Dass— thanks for that, Wic.
Your musings make me wonder if the Omniscient One is concerned with all things, however great or small. The Christian scripture says “ Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not even one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted.” Matthew 10:29-30
Hmmm. Unfathomable to me, who can’t remember where I just laid my glasses…
Interesting. But there’s a difference between awareness and being concerned. Maybe we try to believe our concerns are God’s concerns?
Whoa, you’ve triggered my perception of reality. It’s true that most people find comfort in saying there’s peace after death, and I mostly think it’s to take away the grief. But better still, it’s a calm assurance that “we may still have another chance to live after dying, somewhere with God of course 😅”. And there’s the disturbing part you said about the young or the virtuous dying early and people saying it’s because they were loved more by God. It’s much disturbing indeed. I also don’t know why the deuce a loving God wouldn’t let someone He loves to live longer and share their virtues with many. It just baffles me too, dear Pogue.
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I’m thinking that we place too much emphasis on death rather than understanding it as just another event on the path. Is ‘life’ our existence in this world and ‘death’ our existence in the presence of God, death being the door? Baffling indeed.
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Yeah, those are thoughtful ideas actually. 💡