The Back Page – Birth and Death


The Back Page

Birth and Death

Imagine you could communicate with an infant in the womb:
“Any day now, you are going to be born.” “Born? What do you mean?” “I mean you will leave this
—the only world you have ever known—for a new and bigger place.” “But I like it here. I’m comfortable
here.” “Yes I know. But you were never meant to stay here forever. In this new place you will be able to
see.” “What is ‘see’?” “‘Seeing’ means you will be able to perceive of things from a distance, without
touching or hearing them. All kinds of things—a friend’s face, sunsets, mountain peaks, kittens
playing….” “That’s impossible! How can you perceive without touching or hearing?” “It is possible! You
just don’t yet have any space in your brain to allow you to conceive of such a thing. But it’s true! You just
have to believe me. And in color, too!” “‘Color’? You sure are throwing a lot of new words around today.
What do you mean by ‘color’?” “How can I explain color? You’ll just have to wait until you get here.
And smells—you’ll be able to smell. And run and play and love other people….”
“I would say, ‘Horse dung!’ but I don’t yet know what that is. How am I supposed to get to this new
place anyway?” “It will just happen. It’s called being born. You are going to be squeezed into a narrow
place—so narrow that it may contort your head for a few days. Then you will come to where you are no
longer surrounded by warm fluid but by air, they will cut your umbilical cord, you will be forced to
breathe….” “Cut my cord! But that’s what nourishes me! You’re talking about the end of me! I think I’ll
just stay here, thank you very much, and forget about this seeing and smelling and running stuff you’re
talking about.” “Sorry, you can’t stay there. All of us are born sometime. Being born is indeed a great
unknown, the process is sometimes painful, and you can never go back. But get yourself ready, because
birth is coming.”
Human death resembles birth. It does not end our existence, merely transitions us to a new and
greater life, the one we were meant for. We cannot avoid death, though it may intimidate and is
sometimes prolonged and uncomfortable. A whole new species of experiences awaits on the other side.
“Eye has not seen nor ear heard the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”

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