…and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it. –Ecclesiastes 12:7
My cousin Kyra was 16 years old when she died unexpectedly in 2016. Kyra had a strong faith in God, wanted to go to medical school so she could provide care in impoverished countries, and had a giant pot-bellied pig as a pet. Her entire essence was an act of worship as she lived with such presence, motivation and love for the world around her. She had a promising future; it ended abruptly when another individual decided to text and drive.
Kyra’s short existence transformed my understanding of life and death. Since her death, the reality of my own fate constantly lingers in the back of my head. I am going to die! And what’s even crazier is I have very little control over when and how it’s going to happen. This reality, a reality we all share, is both terrifying and mysteriously beautiful.
One of my favorite songs is “We Might Be Dead by Tomorrow,” by Soko. Morbid as it may sound, Soko draws insight into the significance of living with a conscious acknowledgment of our mortality—an acknowledgement that can inspire us to live a bit bolder. She sings:
So let’s love fully
& let’s love loud
let’s love now
‘Cause soon enough we’ll die
I reflect on my own eventual death for a few moments each day. My eventual death encourages me to live a bit louder. It motivates me to love unconditionally. It inspires me to see the Divine in each day.
God of life and death, may the mystery of our own inevitable death inspire us to live a life full of the love that was taught by your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Stephanie Kelley is the executive assistant to the senior pastor at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.