…continuing from last week’s reflection
Wishing someone a “happy death” is akin to saying “Happy Tornado” or “Happy Tsunami,” yet Einstein would have said a happy death is possible. The famous dancer Isadora Duncan died a gloriously flamboyant death, but we’ll return to her in a moment.
Dying is unavoidable, but “how” we die is a daily spiritual-life assignment to learn to embrace the oneness of life and death which, like in creation, are cosmically inseparable. Without the death of this year’s vegetable garden, you can’t have the new fresh life of next spring’s growth. Yet what makes dying terrifying for us is the not knowing what awaits us afterwards! Such was the horrifying terror that must have gripped Jesus on the cross. Forty years after his crucifixion gospel writers placed on his lips before his death what he uttered would happen afterwards. Today scripture scholars assert Jesus had no more knowledge of what awaited him when he died than do you or I. But he did have a profound faith-trust that God was Love! This conviction of a loving God who was also Life inspired his first believers to say, “What eye has not seen, and ear not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, that God has prepared for those who love him!” (1 Corinthians 2: 9)
The science of our times about particle physics affirms the gloriously magnificent, stunning wonder of “what has not entered the human heart”; that every annihilation means the transformation into something radically new and vibrantly beautiful. Jesus in his dying, and that of those who died after him, entered into a new relationship with the entire evolving cosmic universe. Death released them from their isolation as separated individuals, and they were assumed into the whole of universal life and infinity! The scientist Michael Talbot said of us, “We are, as the aborigines say, ‘just learning how to survive in infinity.’”
Survival in infinity. At this early stage in our human evolution our human mind can barely grasp the notion of the infinity of the Godhead…or our own! Speaking of what many consider the most controversial principle of quantum theology, the Irish scholar Diarmuid O’Murchu said, “…the concepts of beginning and end (are) invoked as dominant myths to help us humans make sense of the infinite destiny in an infinite universe.” Are then tombstones carved with birth and death dates not factual, but rather parabolic symbols to help us grapple with the incredible absurdity that we’re existing in infinity, and have and shall continue?
Now, back to the renowned American dancer Isadora Duncan. In 1927 in Nice, France, on a September day much like today she stepped into her brand new sleek Bugatti racing car. She wrapped a long red scarf around her neck, theatrically flinging it backwards as she waved to her crowd of friends saying, “Adieu, me amis! Je vais a’ la glorie!” Her driver then stepped on the gas and the Bugatti took off with a great roar with her lengthy scarf flying backwards in the wind. Immediately it became entangled in wire spokes of the rear wheel, tightening and snapping Isadora’s neck, killing her instantly. Unknowingly her farewell to her friends was prophetic: “Goodbye, my friends. I go to glory!”