One of my earliest memories was when I was packed into the back of a Toyota Tercel . There was one too many of us in the back, four boys packed in without an inch to spare. I was squished into the rear driver-side door. My father rounded the corner and before I knew it everything was spinning. When the world stopped, I found myself under another car.
The Tercel door I was pressed against had swung open during the turn and I barrel-rolled like a boss. The turn was actually a 3-way intersection and I was jettisoned towards a car that was entering the intersection. Thankfully, the car stopped just shy of running me over. By the grace of God, I escaped the incident with just some scratches.
That event probably influenced one of my other earliest memories, as it had a decidedly macabre tone to it. I was safely at home but thinking about the fact that I would eventually die. I felt an extreme sadness wash over me, and I stood facing the corner of my bedroom, as if I’d put myself in timeout, and started sobbing out loud.
Now, as a Christian, I don’t see death as absolute finality. It’s really just a passage that we must pass through. Life is a kind of trial, a testing ground, and upon death is our judgment. A quote about this topic that I use in the song “Go On – Prelude,” is from a film I really enjoyed called “The Extrovert”:
“Death is not a thing. It’s an unfathomable action that ends everything we know and begins everything that we don’t. We die the same as we live, so if we live in love we die falling deeper into it, but if we live in hate we die still trapped in it.”—Fr. Peter, The Extrovert (2016 film, James Pinedo II)
This also echoes a quote from the Peter Fonda film “Easy Rider”:
“Death only closes a man’s reputation and determines it as good or bad.”—Easy Rider (1969 film, Columbia Pictures)