Think how it would be if we became aware that any moment of our life might be the last one and this moment would be given to us for reaching a certain perfection and the words we would say might be the last ones and they have to express the whole beauty, wisdom, knowledge and above all all the love we acquired during our lifetime no matter how long or short it would have been.
How would we behave with one another if the present moment were the only moment we have at our disposal and if this moment should express all the love and care we have for the other one. We would live with an intensity and profoundness otherwise we might never reach. But we are not aware what importance the present moment has. We go from past to future without living with intensity the present moment.
Dostoyevsky in his diary tells us what happened to him when he was sentenced to death. Waiting for the moment of execution by hanging he stood and looked at the people around him. How bright the light was and how nice was the air he breathed, how beautiful the world around him was, how precious any moment of life was then when he was still alive but on the edge of death.
`Oh, he said, if I were given life I would not waste it in vain. He had been given life and he had wasted so much from it. If we were aware of this how we would treat another one and even ourselves. If we knew that the person we are speaking to might die soon and the sound of our voice, the content of our words, the gesture we make, the way we address, our intentions might be the last things this person would perceive and take them with her in eternity, how careful and loving we would really be
Experience proves that before death any resentments, bitterness, reciprocal antipathies disappear.
Death is by far much more important than what it would appear as insignificant at the scale of the ephemeral life. Seeing death from this angle the thought and remembrance about it might be the only power which would make life be intense.
To live to be at the height of death, to live in such a way that anytime we would encounter death, it would find us on top, on the crest of the wave, not in the tomb so that our last words would not be useless and our last gesture would not be in vain!
Excerpt from Life, sickness, death – Metropolitan Anthony of Suroj, Saint Silouan Publishing.