Wednesday, September 06, 2006

by the sword

The death of the Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin, got me to thinking about life and death last night as I mowed the lawn.  [aside] this isn't a judgment on anyone or their choice of enjoyment, just my thoughts [/aside]
There is much about his death that makes one thing of the old adage, "Those who live by the sword, die by the sword."  And with all his close calls and dangerous situations, the one that caused his death was relatively safe as the Manta Rays are supposedly not hostile to human interaction, but when walking the tightrope day after day, one small slip can be the last.
But then I thought of how "by the sword" can mean other things.  I would offer that a majority of people die in their sleep.  Why?  Because we spend a good portion of our time in life sleeping.  A man that spends his time in nature will have a higher probability of dying there.  It isn't necessarily a prophetic curse to will die as one lives, but also a call to what is important in life.  Irwin's calling was to work with animals and he gave himself to this task.  And eventually gave himself ultimately doing his work.  So there is a blessing in giving himself completely to your calling. 
My thoughts also turned to my cousin's brother-in-law who died in an avalanche while skiing outside the boundaries a few years back.  As it is a big weakness of mine, my initial reaction was one of judgment.  Poor sap, he shouldn't have been there.   But almost as a rebuke to my thoughts, my cousin emailed friends and family more of the details.  This man I had judged harshly wasn't to blame.  He was an experienced skier, was an instructor and also served as a ski patrol at times, so his job took him beyond the boundaries regularly.  And he knew the dangers and took the precautions.  It was someone else being careless above him that caused the avalanche.  He valiantly tried to outrace the tide of snow and almost succeeded.
But again, live by the sword, die by the sword.  In his desire for thrill, he pushed the limits and eventually paid the ultimate price.  His fatal mistake was not his own lack of skill, but that of another.
So the moral of the whole mess we live in?  We don't know when we will be called home.  As my dad would tell me when I was driving and I would protest that I had the right of way.  He would tell me, "I might be in the right, but I could end up dead right."  So I guess we must remember to stay close to the Sacraments so we can live our life without fear of dying. 

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