Keep Your Death in Mind


One of our rental homes is in Oregon wine country (see: Cloud Wine Cottage). Whenever I'm there, I love to go and walk. I love to experience nature. There are vines I get to walk by and pine trees. It's just gorgeous. And there's this loop I walk often that's about three miles long.

About halfway through the walk, you end up going up a hill and it gets pretty steep. As you work your way to the top, your legs and your lungs are on fire. And then you finally ascend the hill. At the very top, after you emerge out of neighborhoods, you get to a cemetery.

I love this part of the walk. It's actually my favorite because you've gone all the way up and you get a chance to catch your breath. While your body is yelling at you, you get to contemplate life. You get a great reminder that someday this is all gonna come to an end.

Now that may sound super morbid to you, but there's actually a Latin phrase for this called 'memento mori.' It means to realize you will die and to acknowledge your own death. And while that may sound weird, you actually find this idea throughout Stoicism and early Christianity.

This awareness of life's brevity is a helpful reminder for us all. It's harder to do when you're not near an iconic cemetery you can go walk through. But we need reminders we are finite. That we have a limited amount of time. So I want to just encourage you today and remind you to be present in the moment.

If you're anything like me this can be a challenge. I can think so far ahead. Years ahead, weeks ahead. I can get lost in the midst of planning things. I can be mentally preparing for something yet to come. And oftentimes, what this does is cause me to miss what's going on in the moment. What's going on here, and now.

So today I want to remind you to be present, whatever you're doing. Whether that's something you're super excited about or maybe you feel like today you're doing something you have to do. This is your life. We don't know what tomorrow brings. We don't know how many tomorrows we have. But memento mori, we can live today. We can choose to be more meaningful, and more intentional, because we know at some point this is coming to an end and we want to make the most of the time we have together. 

Let's be present today.

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