So much of what we build, so much of what we paint, so much of what we create, is in essence a reflection of our realization and deep desire to ignore that we are going to die.
We are probably the only species to have evolved to the point where we recognize our own mortality. We are certainly the only species to build churches.
We see our own death coming, and we are unable to accept it. For our unique ability as homo sapiens to recognize and process the world around us and our seemingly singular place within it, is utterly at odds with our absolute inability to understand why.
This all seems so magical… how can it just end?
This connection feels too beautiful, how can it just cease to exist?
And so we construct ornate palaces dedicated to our immortality. We build them with marble, and rhyme, and brush strokes, and song.
We build them with the other spectacular gifts we as a species have been given– those higher powers which set us apart, the kinder cousins of that terrible ability we have to relentlessly know.
To know what is coming.
To know that everything that is now, will not be.
So look at that gleaming façade of pink and green marble– surely that will last forever.
Read those fragile words inscribed on a white page, whose incandescence somehow sets your mind aflame– therein lies magic.
Listen to that soaring chorus and its smiling refusal to do anything but live— that makes me cry, that makes me feel alive.
Better yet: make more of these things.
For the beautiful gifts which have fallen upon us– those higher powers to create and reflect and amplify life— may indeed outweigh that terrible talent which dogs us: the awareness of death, of that which we wish we were not aware.
There is nothing impermanent about impermanence.
There is nothing fleeting, about going away.
You will always have been here.
So make your mark, if you need to. Regardless, you will already have done.
Sing your song, if it soothes you. And do so especially if it gives others ease.
Build your church, in public or private, even if that church is as small as a smile.
And listen, always, for the hymns around you.
For how we live and that we will die should not be of equal concern. Only the latter is unchangeable.