Does Our Mortality Connect Our Humanity
I was once characterized as having a “Republican” way of viewing things. When this was said of me I was neither insulted or impressed. Since, this was not my political affiliation, the undertones and implications were clear to me. I happily can say, I am still friends with the individual who made that assessment. I can also tell you LIFE has taught me that the stances I took on numerous things are subject to review, things are not just “black and white”.
More and more of our contemporaries are moving on to the next phase of life. Some touch us more than others, but we are touched just the same. When you find yourself attending more funerals than house parties it has to affect you in some way. If you knew today was your last day on Earth what would you do? How would you treat those around you? Life as you know it would be changed forever. What would be most important and how would you want it conveyed.
I will submit to you something not as final as death, but a major life altering event, a disease discovery. I will leave it to you to determine if it is terminal or not. However, you must take the position it is serious enough that simply ignoring it or going about as though it is not happening, is NOT an option. I want you to think as I relay this writer’s vantage point.
We are dealing with an individual who could never really be touched, not physically and not mentally. Life was a series of conquests and obstacles. No one could be trusted even a close confidant or a family member. To keep that protective shell intact all had to be dealt with as strangers and kept at “arms-length”.
For years of loyalty, dedication, and love the ones who were considered close were rewarded with distance and cold interaction. Then the discovery is made. Now we are afraid; we are hurting, we are confused and we expect compassion, understanding, and love. However, as much love and affection there is your people have been beaten down. They are numb. They care but wonder how much worse will it be, for if they had you in good condition what will happen as things go bad? A frightening thought for them, a grounding point for you.
Years ago I watched George Wallace, the former governor of Alabama in an interview proclaiming a black man was “his best friend in the world”. I remember seeing a George Wallace standing on the steps of the University of Alabama some years earlier blocking the entrance to the admissions office. I recall hearing a speech,” Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever…” I watched this now feeble man robbed of the vitality of his youth; his angry hot blood was now meek lukewarm plasma, and his sharp vicious tongue now slowly being silenced by age. I asked myself, after feeling a bit of consolation in seeing him in his condition, does he remember the evil that he spewed from his person. I wondered if he was really sorry for what he had done or did he fear the after-life. I asked myself why I felt good that he was in such bad shape?
We never know when our respective numbers will come up. Questions arise in a simplified form; in order for us to relate, we must have something at stake. For example; Tobacco Magnate-“How much money would you make off that cigarette, if your ONLY child should partake and then proceed to get TB or Cancer? I’d like to know the answer.”-William “Smokey” Robinson
You see, we do not know how really sympathetic or humble we can be if we are never challenged or our existence put on the line. Then when we are put to the test, when we have something to loose we have to ask ourselves are we making our decisions based on doing the right thing, seeing the light- our Humanity shining through or is it simple fear of retribution from sources unknown- our Mortality being exposed.