As I have stated in previous posts (here & here & here) one of the books I have recently finished is Dorothy Sayers’ The Mind of the Maker. When I was reading the book and when I first finished it I must admit, I was not overly impressed. However, as I have further distanced myself from the book I have grown to appreciate it more and more as I have looked back over some of the quotes I have saved from it. As the title to this posts makes clear, one of the topics that Sayers addresses in the book is the idea of death.
Sayers notes how easily we tend to avoid death and how we treat it as a trifling nuisance until it is ultimately shoved in our face by tragedy. The following quote bring the subject into stark relief:
Death is less noticeable when it occurs privately and piecemeal. In time of peace we can pretend, almost successfully, that it is only a regrettable accident, which out to have been avoided…No man can die more than once; but great disasters, great pestilences, and above all great wars, cram our eyes and ears with the detested knowledge that life intends to kill us. (pg. 196)
That last line is so striking to me, “life intends to kill us”. It is such a startling reality. Living really is dying and in the words of N.D. Wilson, “Living makes dying worth it.” (Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl). We cannot avoid death and it is foolish to do so. In fact, Jesus tells us that it is in the death that we truly find life. The pattern of the new creation is the pattern death, burial, and resurrection. Our lives, just like liturgy, should follow the same pattern of dying to ourselves and thus becoming a truer version of ourselves in that death. When we learn to die to ourselves in every area of our lives we begin to learn how to die well. We are preparing for the final death which is ultimately just preparation for our final life, the resurrection.
Food for thought.