Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Live Each Day as Your Last

They say only two things in life are absolute certainties - death and taxes.  Despite the fact it's tax time, my mind was more on the other thing yesterday.  You see...

...that Polish aircrash over the weekend, where dozens of people in the higher echelons of the Polish government lost their lives trying to land in western Russia, well... turns out a friend of mine was one of the fatalities. 

He was a young bishop in the Polish Orthodox Church, Bishop Miron.  Despite being Orthodox and not Roman Catholic, he was a top official in his country's military chaplaincy program and actually held the rank of Brigadier General.  We met three years ago when he came to Canada for a military chaplains' conference.  We celebrated a Sunday liturgy together at church and I had the honor of translating for him (from Russian, not Polish)  in a Q & A session afterwards.  He was a very kind, unpretentious man interested in everyone and a joy to be with.  He will be missed.

As one of my kids always says, you can never say someone's middle aged because you don't know when they'll die.  And the tragic and far too early departure of Bishop Miron is just one reminder that we don't know how much time we have.

Most people in our society would probably consider that a morbid thought and try to push it out of their minds.  Big mistake!  Authentic Ancient Traditions knew a huge advantage and tremendous RESILIENCE is hidden within this mysterious "remembrance of death".  How so?

1. If you live each day as your last, you'll never succumb to petty emotional reactions

How seriously would you take your own emotional ups and downs if you suddenly found yourself in a life and death situation?  Not at all.  So when you start to live each day as your last, the emotional grip the world has on you begins to lose its power.

2. You'll do nothing carelessly ever again - your actions will be increasingly filled with power

You start to realize there are no unimportant decisions.  Every decision you make is now made in the face of life and death, so everything is important.  All your actions become deliberate actions and take on a powerful quality.

3. And because you're increasingly conscious of the eternal consequences of your choices, you'll stop wasting this precious life and start making spiritual progress

All Authentic Ancient Traditions tell us that our whole life is merely a preparation for what comes next.  Once you live each day as your last, you begin to realize that you don't know when that "next" phase of your existence will begin. 

As to exactly how you can leverage the awsome power of the "remembrance of death", we'll get to that next time ;-)

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


  1. I'm sorry for you loss but glad it inspired this wonderful blog post. Thank you.

  2. Symeon, I'm very sorry to hear about your loss.

    Moments like this do make you wake up and re-assess your life. And whatever it is that has been bugging you, doesn't seem to be worth your worries anymore.

    - Alex

  3. Hi! I sure know this to be true. I've had Graves' Disease, a hyperthyroid condition that can end suddenly with what appears to be a heart attack, twice. The first tactic I came up with once I was diagnosed and understood the risks was to ask the question, "Is this thing I'm stressing over worth dying for?" It was amazing how many things were NOT worth dying for, and discerning the few things that were. After about a week, I completely accepted the possibility of sudden death any day, and I've never looked back. The only difference is that now I have a five-year-old, and I really, REALLY want to live to see her safely grown up.

    I have found it a blessing to recognize that life is a gift that can end every day. It's a constant reminder to use each day for the most important activities!