Tuesday, July 31, 2007

maybe seconds away

Early Sunday morning an off-duty cop was killed in Los Angeles when he swerved to avoid a car disabled on the center divder of the Hollywood Freeway. The officer laid his motorcycle down which then caused a chain reaction pile-up as cars coming up behind swerved to avoid either the car or the motorcycle. Eventually 11 vehicles were involved. The officer was the only fatality.

I thought of the officer driving up the Hollywood freeway. 3:30 AM on a Sunday so the freeway must have been fairly empty. He was on his way to a second job as security for a movie complany. 52 years old. I'm sure death was the last thing on his mind, and yet there death waited only a few feet up the road.

For most of us death comes in a more timely manner. We know we're seriously ill. Or we know we're advanced in years. Or we know, as soldiers or police officers must, that we're working in a dangerous occupation where death is a possibility. But though accidental death is fortunately rare it is a possibility for any of us. To wait until death looms before we prepare for its inevitablity presumes that we will indeed see it coming while we still have time and competency to do the preperatory work. That's a false assumption. And there's no reason to wait. The spiritual benefits of being appropriately reconciled to our mortality pay off while we yet live, whether that be just a few seconds more or decades.

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