“The one true freedom in life is to come to terms with death, and as early as possible, for death is an event that embraces all our lives. And the only way to have a good death is to lead a good life. Lead a good one, full of curiosity, generosity and compassion and there’s no need at the close of day to rage against the dying of the light. We can go gentle into that good night.” (Taken from “Credo” by William Sloan Coffin)
I’ve thought a lot about Coffin’s words since the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida. Once more, we are numb with grief over an event of such monstrous proportions that it will never be fully understood. It is humankind at its darkest. I wrestle with unanswered questions. I mourn the loss of irreplaceable lives. Who knows what remarkable things might have been accomplished through their futures that seemed so promising? I pray they had a chance to come to terms with death. I fear they did not. For us who survive, it seems this is a matter of great urgency. Yet, we focus on issues that divide us.
I won’t offer an opinion here on the gun control debate, except to say how disturbing it is that such ugly words on all sides fail to bring any solution on how to protect our children. Maybe the word that is so offensive to people is “Control.” But, control is exactly what we should be talking about. It seems in this broken world; a little self-control is needed. We need self-control as we rob our earth of its resources without thought of how we will replenish them. A little self-control is in line with regard to our personal relationships. To be healthy, we must let go of some of our personal need, so the needs of others might be met. Self-control would go a long way in curtailing some of the remarks that are so divisive. Self-control is an issue we need to grapple with sometime, but I’m not sure it’s the answer to our present need. Clearly, the young man who murdered 17 innocents had lost all self-control. Maybe, it’s God-control we need. Wouldn’t it be a grand day if we surrendered ourselves to God and let God steer us into the future? I’m afraid it is long in coming. I am drawn to Coffin’s words, that call us to find peace with death. “And the only way to have a good death is to lead a good life. Lead a good one, full of curiosity, generosity and compassion, and there’s no need at the close of day to rage against the dying light.” I don’t have control over how or when I die, but I choose how to live! I can lead a good life, full of curiosity, generosity and compassion. With the help of God, I can do that and face death with peace. God – give me power to “go gentle into that good night.” In the meantime, I remain heartbroken. Our children are being murdered. God help us….