Death Teaches
While You Dance

Death teaches while you dance...if we listen.  While that sounds like an oxymoron, it is critically important to accept its instruction as it dances with you.  It took me doing the dance twice to pay attention to La Danse Macabre (French for dance of death) as we were on the dancefloor of life.

Death is teaching.

There are some critical lessons about which death will instruct us.

  1. Over time, death will ultimately win.  No matter how well one dances and lives life, the reality is that the cards are stacked against us.  We might have good genes passed down from our parents.  We may also follow the various good rules regarding exercise and eating the correct foods, etc.  Nevertheless, we are not immortal.  Death will overcome all our determination to live forever.
Description: Pieter Brueghel, The Triumph of Death.

Pieter Brueghel, The Triumph of Death.

  1. Death taught John Donne in 1623 about death.  Donne was ill with the Black Death, also known as the bubonic plague, and wrote the famous Meditation XVII.  Today, we know it as "No Man is an Island."

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

Donne realized that death was correct that "any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind...."  Death made it clear that all humans are related to each other.  Therefore, when a church bell rings telling of a person's death, all the people are diminished.

Description: Black Death Medieval Doctor

In medieval Europe, doctors wore masks containing herbs
to prevent them from getting the Black Death or bubonic plague

  1. Doing the dance, death changed my Weltanschauung (worldview).  My first grandchild was born years before my two dances with death.  However, when my two grandsons came along, I understood the reality that I wasn't immortal.  Therefore, I go about life informed about the finiteness of the time that I have.  I don't waste my time like I did prior to either of the dances.  That is a critical lesson that death taught me on the dance floor of life.

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

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Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.