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Death Recalibrates Life and Living Essentials
© Donald Reinhardt, February 12, 2012

The death of any person is a wakeup call – a reminder that human life is frail, tenuous, temporal, fleeting, fragile, evanescent, brief or any other of dozens of similar, meaningful words which indicate life's shortness and brevity.

Whitney Houston, a great singer, entertainer and star died at the age of 48 this Saturday, February 11, 2012.
Whitney Houston, Star Singer & Entertainer, Dead at Age 48: Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Flicker A Whitney Houston Lyric and Song of Significance: I Will Aways Love You
In one sense we may believe that the loss of certain people from the planet is insignificant or a good thing. People such as Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tsung, Saddam Hussein and others of similar inhumaneness and insanity of purpose are among those who are not to be mourned. 
There are other mortals who depart the planet and who are missed by no one since there is no relative or friend left to mourn them – the friendless, the homeless, the abandoned. The passing of these people may go unnoticed, undetected or simply be unrecognized. In fact, some lives resemble words written on paper as a message or testament left in the sunlight.  Day after day these words and letters, bleached by the sun’s rays, fade until one day they totally disappear. And then the contents and the meanings of that letter or testament are forever gone and lost.
Some human lives may be compared to that faded letter or something of value pushed into, or left abandoned in, a dark place or corner, never to be seen again. These are the unknown and the unseen.
However, in contrast to this view, there are the great and famous who die and what do we note of these individuals? Yes, there is great mourning, concern, diligence and fanfare with glowing accolades and eulogies which may extend for many days or weeks. Presidents, movie and sports stars and other entertainers, military heroes, outstanding citizens, executives and administrators are heralded by communities, a nation or the whole world. The mourning is great, profound and long and may extend to a generation or many generations or almost forever.

How Then Shall We Live, You and Me – What Makes Us What We Are, You and Me?

The concerns for and treatments of dead persons of so many different types and kinds are varied indeed. Let us think about something else for a moment – how do we address the needs of the living? What is most important about the here and the now of our or anyone's existence – that life that we share and participate in?
“How Then Shall We Live?” is the title of a significant and well-written book and regardless of your current status or belief that is one question among many others that we should ask ourselves each day.

·         How am I living?

·         What am I living for?

·         How can I make my life better?

·         Can I help myself more by helping others?

·         Is there hope for me and who can help me when I need help?

Choices in life matter and choices will always matter. There are living saints and sinners all around us, each and every day. Here are some useful ideas and suggestions to carry with you.  

·         Associate more often with some of these saints and people helpers when you find them. Always stay close to good people for they will nourish and feed your heart, mind and soul. Remember that the weak need strong people of good character and purpose to guide and help them. Even strong, good people need other strong and good people to support them along the way, for no man or no woman is an island that can exist alone, isolated and unnourished.

·         Learn what works in life and what does not. How? Be careful, discerning,  questioning, seeking and finding and don’t accept everything that is said or written as true. There are many liars, lies and untruths in the world. We are often encouraged to buy something that someone is trying to sell. Life is filled with contradictions such as “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die.”  Then why bother eating healthy, dieting, exercising, praying, being thoughtful and meditative? Many learn that "eat, drink and be merry" sounds better than it really is and that adage has been proven wrong time and time again. Some people never learn the truth or they simply forget and repeat the same adage, routine or mistake over and over again. Bad advice often sounds good, but it fails – all the time
·         Remember that helping others in need and being concerned for the needy is as important as taking care of yourself. I love this relevant expression:  “God’s gift to you is your life. What you do with your life is your gift to God.” For those who do not believe in God, substituting an alternative word or words might work. We actually should live our lives with purpose for the benefit of others and not ourselves only. That is a worthy goal. It is not always easy or rewarding, but it is an important and good to do.