Death always wins.

It is the truth that is ground into your DNA. It is the truth that you are fleeing from the moment of your conception. Death is a darkness that will come as surely as the sun will set on this day. You are afraid of the dark before you are afraid of anything else because you are afraid of the darkness that awaits your own tiny, flickering flame. You are afraid of being alone for the rest of your life because you know that death is the most universal of experiences, yet you will go off to meet it by yourself. Even were you to hold your beloved and breathe out at the same moment, you will not go with them. You will go alone into the dark.

You. Will. Die.

Everyone you know and love will die. Were you to outrun Death for long enough, you would watch everyone you’ve ever loved fall like wounded prey. And you would know as they dropped off that Death is stalking you with confidence. It is not sprinting after you, afraid that it will miss you.

Death is stalking you with a smirk on its face. Assured of catching you, it swaggers after you. Run as long and as hard as you can. Eat your spinach and do your workouts and keep yourself clean and organic and pure. You’ll add microseconds to your life. But you will be caught. Death will catch you. Surely.

You are going to die.

You will be forgotten. Your friends will remember you while their minds function. Your children will remember you, most assuredly. Your grandchildren too, if you live a normal span of time. But just a step beyond them and, in all likelihood, your grandchildren’s children will maybe know you as a name, as a legend. But they will not have known you. Their children won’t even know your name. Those friends that will remember you? Their line will forget you even quicker. The memory of who you are will quickly trickle away. You’ll be one of the multitude amid faceless masses and generations.

You will be forgotten.

These are the simple truths of our humanity. These are the realities of the immensity of time. We will pass through the sky in a flash and we will be forgotten. Rarely do we meditate on this truth. If we’re honest, we flee it every second that we have consciousness. When we are forced to face it, something in us mourns. We mourn the fierce pace of our lives, the vastness of everything else, the tiny space that we occupy. We cringe at our insignificance. We wish it were not so. We wish death wasn’t inarguably true. We wish time would not scrub us out of memory. We wish we would endure.

This could be biological impulse. This could be a natural adaption left by blind evolution because it makes us frantic survivors. Our inward life could be entirely biology and chemistry and survival. Our explanatory powers, our psychological adaption to this brutal reality may just be learned coping mechanisms. That makes perfect sense.

But what if the disquiet in our bones is more than the emotional equivalent of opposable thumbs? What if the rumbling in our gut is telling us the truth?

What if there is nothing that is more vile than death? What if there nothing more heinous than a life that is a meaningless vapor? What if there really is ugliness in the darkness that we fear? What if those terrors are not the vestiges of evolutionary mechanism, but rather remnants of a reality in which we were meant to always pitch our tent? What if all the things that humans wish were whispered signs of a way that was once ours? What if the inevitable nature of death was turned upon Death itself?

Everything will die. But what if the surprising twist to the story was that even Death itself would die?

You and I are insignificant vapor buzzing through the ether. But what if our insignificance itself was a thing that was passing away?

Death’s armor is impenetrable. It is absolutely and completely unconquerable. There seems to be no weak spot. But there is one. The secret weak spot of the beast is not in some hidden notch in its scales, like Bilbo’s lizard. The weak spot of this particular relentless dragon is the only obvious opening. The only weak spot death has ever had is the place where it swallows you up. The only way Death would ever die is if something or Someone went inside it and tore it open.

What if such a story was not the wishes we tacked on to our biology? What if such a story was etched in history as an answer to all the echoes of our dreams, the dreams we ached to know were real?

What if we could know that though Death may swallow us up, it was a dying beast that did so?

What if we could know that the impermanence and insignificance that harrows our soul could be diffused by a promise that it would not be the last word on our buried frame?

What if, in the darkness that makes us quail, we might feel a hand still bloody with Death’s destruction cover our own and we could hear a whisper in response to our panic: “I’ve seen darker than this. And even there it was as light to me.”

Death is the end of every human that’s ever lived. But the thing that we feel to the depths of us is that it is not the end for which we were made. Death is a violation of our story, an interruption, an unholy tragedy. That thing that has ruined our story must die a death worse than ours. Death should die forever.

When Jesus climbs up to the cross and is crushed by the jaws of the Dragon, it is not the defeat of a good man. It is the leap of a hero into the maw of the beast that has harassed and harried his people for far too long. And when Jesus’ foot falls on the outside of the tomb that first Easter, it is a sign that unconquerable Death has been dealt a death blow from within its own belly, leaving it powerless to do anything but thrash in misery as it heads towards its own fate.

Death is not the end.

The end of Death is the end.

Forever-life is the end for which we were made. It is the song that reverberates in our heart from birth, not from delusion but from inheritance. It is not a lie we tell ourselves. It is a subversion of the lie that is Death’s swagger.

Death is not the end.

The end of Death is the end.

When we lay back and breathe out one final time, we don’t have to fear. What was once the gaping jaws of a vicious and undefeated monster is now merely a door swinging wide. The thing that separates us off from everyone we’ve ever loved is suddenly the first time we’ve ever seen Love face to face. We don’t have to worry about finding the way through an unshakably dark valley filled with death. We find waiting for us one who called himself the Way. He is the Way through, the Way out, the Way to keep on living.

Death is not the end.

The end of Death is the end.

The end is perpetual beginning.

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