Don’t Fear Death…
Have you ever read Tuck Everlasting?
I didn’t think so. I hadn’t even heard of the book. Actually, I had no idea who Natalie Babbitt was.
This is the backstory. The other day, I was ordering something on Amazon. I love Amazon and was looking for something as I went through their suggestions. I wasn’t looking for sharks or the movie, Jaws. Nonetheless, this is what they suggested.
What caught my eye was not the picture, but the caption fascinated me. So, I copied the caption in Amazon’s search “Don’t Fear Death…Fear the Unlived Life” and clicked on it.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one fascinated by that one-liner. So, I googled, “Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life.” A nanosecond later, this popped up. “Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life. You don’t have to live forever. You just have to live.” It was from Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting.
Even more interesting is that the novel was written for children. Methinks that one would have to be on the exceptionally old side of being a child to understand Babbitt’s work. Looking at America today, many adults wouldn’t grasp Babbitt’s message. Nonetheless, if they understood what she meant, it is the opposite of how they live their lives, and they would reject her suggestion.
Babbitt used a young gal, Winnie, as a metaphor for the storyline. Winnie lived in Treegap, New Hampshire. Winnie was shown a spring on her parent’s property containing special water. If one drank from that spring, the person would be endowed with immortality.
Most literary scholars believe that wrestling with the question of whether or not immortality was a blessing or a curse was Babbitt’s central message. It seemed to me to be a moot point. She went beyond the question of the value of immortality to the here and now. Babbitt asserts, “Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life. You don’t have to live forever. You just have to live.”
Immortality is a straw horse. What is critical is whether we live life to the fullest or waste our moment in time as we journey down the yellow brick road of life and think we are living. Babbitt paraphrased Gilgamesh’s mindset. He also wrestled with immortality. Instead of drinking special water, Gilgamesh found a special plant. Finally, he realized reality and stated, “Forget death and seek life.”
We are here for a limited about of years. It seems apparent that we ought to carpe diem. Babbitt and Gilgamesh grasped the concept of the circle of life. Elton John expresses that truth in the Circle of Life.
Babbitt asserted, “Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life. You don’t have to live forever. You just have to live.” The only means to open our lives to genuinely living is achieved through giving. If we desire something, start with giving something to another person. This is my one-liner: It is in giving that we get. It is adding to the circle of life.