A-climber-is-not-a-crazy-man-he-is-not-trying-to-get-himself-killed-he-knows-what-life-is-worth-he-is-in-love-with-living1A friend of mine asked me how I’m able to face the prospect that soon I will die. My response was delivered in the following parable.

One day a neighbor saw the Angel of Death.

Surprised and fearing for his life, he went unto his friend. “Please kind sir, may I borrow your car and drive away. I will drive 6 hours toward Chicago and hide.”

Being a kind friend, he plopped the vehicle’s keys into his neighbor’s hand and watched as the vehicle drove off unto the horizon.

Curious, the wise friend questioned the Angel of Death.

Why did you surprise and scare my neighbor?”

Sorry,” replied the Angel. “I was surprised as well.”

How so?

Well, I’m totally confused. My appointment calendar has a meeting scheduled with your neighbor tonight near Chicago.”

Most of us don’t usually want to think or talk about death. Be it conscious or unconscious, there is a fear, a tendency to avoid it. Thus, similar to the reworded parable I borrowed from eons ago, death will come regardless of whether or not we’ve made time to practice spirituality. And most certainly, we can’t run from it either.

Contemplation of death is not for making us depressed or morbid, it is rather for the purpose of helping to free us from fear. The values that we have in life will change quite drastically once we stop living as if we are going to live forever, and we will start living in a quite different way.

Dr. Larry Wilson once said those who fear the death the most are those who haven’t lived. It’s important to live our lives more fully, with more joy, with more gratitude and appreciation. If we live our lives as though we were going to live forever, we wouldn’t appreciate the life given. Instead, we take life for granted and live in a very foolish and heedless way. We all live in foolish ways, simply because we don’t consciously contemplate the fact of death.

Anderl Heckmair spent his life as a mountaineer and led the first successful ascent of the North Face of the Eiger in 1938. Sometime during the 1930’s a fortuneteller told him he would die an unnatural death. “Oh no!” he exclaimed. “That means I’ll die in bed.”

I hope to never have an unnatural death.

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Anderl Heckmair lived until the age of 98.