Spring, Death, and Story
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Spring, Death, and Story • Posted: Mar 06, 2011 20:05:52Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

Undeniable signs of Spring are beginning to show in many parts of the U.S. this week. The above images are not recent, but they offer a fair representation of what more and more of us will be seeing in coming weeks. The story of Spring is one of rebirth, purity, and abundance. It's a compellingly hopeful narrative that annually inspires many of us as script for our own lives. That fact and events in the news this week have me considering how important story is to notions of who we are and what we think we're doing.

Take, for instance, the sudden death this week of a high school basketball star in the state of Michigan. He had just scored the tie-breaking winning basket, capping his team's 20 game undefeated season, and was being joyously borne on the shoulders of his fellow teammates when he suddenly collapsed and died of an enlarged heart. We are shocked, as is everyone who knew him. But why? Death is as natural as the coming of dawn and the blossoming of Spring. Why are we so shocked?

We are shocked because the ending to his story came upon us too suddenly, too soon. We expected more. We did not expect it to end just then. We are left with a gaping hole where we believe the rest of his life should be. And it both startles and disturbs us. But there is some consolation to be had realizing he probably couldn't have written a more glorious ending of accomplishment to his life, even if he'd tried. Think how much more annoyingly black a tragedy it would have been had he collapsed, stumbled, and fell on his way to attempting that final winning basket. He might have died, while the game that meant so much to him could have been lost, forfeited, or left a tie. But that isn't what happened. He made the basket and won the game, a moment few who were witness will ever forget.

Such poignant meaning very few of us achieve within own lives. The egotistic struggle toward such memorable flamboyance is, I'm sure, what compels Libya's Qadhafi to attempt laying waste to his own country as he goes down in flames battling hatred that both consumes and inspires him. For him, it is the story that matters and little else. He will never accept a meek retirement, perhaps a role as elder statesman in the mold of Cuba's Castro. It is not a story that inspires him. And so his countrymen are paying the price.

Each of us will one day meet our end. Within the intervening days, months, or years most of us will struggle to enact a story for ourselves of who we think we are and what we want our lives to have meant. The coming of Spring, with it's fresh message of hope and opportunity, will undoubtedly inspire a few rewrites to many of our stories. May yours prove both just and gloriously successful.

Saturday, February 28th, 2009