When do you want to die? Your answer could determine whether or not you will have a "good death" or not so good, maybe, a bad death.
"I'm not ready to die! Let me live longer!" These are the pleas of most human beings, including those who are in a debilitated condition. But does it really matter whether a person dies at a young age or at an "old-ripe age," since everyone is going to die?
Death is an equal opportuity, equal participation and equal acheivement guarantee for every person. For most people death does not come at the time they want it to come. They think that it comes too early. People usaully put up the "fight of a life time" in an attempt to fend off death. Speaking of one such person, we may hear someone say "He/she put up a "fight to the finish."
Some people unwillingly and angrily succumb to death. There are those who unintentionally hasten their death by engaging in pro-death acts that include, but are not limited to, gluttony, overuse of alcohol, drugs and committing suicide suddenly or in a prolonged manner. Then there are people who commit homicides because they rather see some other people dead than alive. But the vast majority of human beings want, try, and strive, to live longer. They engage in activities and practices that promise them long life, life longer than they will actually live. They may take treatments of many kinds, allowing surgeons to butcher them - cut off or out their vital organs. They may engage in quackery treatments and spend large sums of money, even when their termination is only days or weeks away, in a last ditch attempt to live longer.
And even for those who swear upon the altar of all eternity that they are going to Heaven when they die - a place so much better than earth - where every day will be Sunday, meaning, among other things, that there will be no blue Mondays or punching the clock, when faced with death they pleadingly say, "We want to die and go to Heaven, but not now."
Again the question is asked,"Does it really matter whether we die at a young age or an old-ripe age?" and not just because death is certain, but what is the point or value of living to be seventy-five, eighty or older, especially, if the last thirty or more years of life will be spent existing in a vegetable-like state deprived of those attributes that distinguish
human beings from other animals?
Just suppose that Apostle Paul was right when he said "to die is gain," (Philippians 1:21), that immortality is better than mortality, and that in death a person becomes like God unlimited, free, and as eternal as the Heavens. Let us be personal, convinced that these things are true would you stand in line all night waiting for an opportunity to board ahead of your neighbors the space ship that picks up only people who are anxious to go to Heaven? Would you, without hesitation or reservation leap for or to your death? While no one seems to be able to answer the many questions we ask about death we all know that we are going to die sooner or soon. Now, no one is suggesting that you self-destruct in a way that would assure your premature demise, but why work so hard, invest so much of your life, endure so much human misery, and live in chronic fear of death when you have the opportunity to die a "good death?" That may not happen if you put living a "longer life" that may linger in disgrace rather than end in grace - a glorfied death.
It could be that a longer life could be the chief reason why many people will not be able to heed this mandate issued by William Cullen Bryant in "Thanatopsis" that says:
"So live, that when thy summons come to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quary-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."
"I wonder, if after listening to these reflections and gaining new insights on death would you want your epitath to read: "Before my crossover from there to here I waited with equal eagerness for Santa Claus and death, knowing that when either came I would be surprised by joy."