Death Stinks

She really does smell bad.

When we first meet Death, we learn that she has come to really hate her job. More than that (almost) is the fact that she smells like rotten flesh. There’s a putrid emanation from her skin that she can only control with enormous effort. Any distraction and the smell seeps out her pores in an asphyxiating cloud of stench. No one wants to be near her. She’s like the person on the bus that you just can’t avoid because, dang it, the bus is full and you have to get to work.

Nobody’s perfect.

It’s a metaphor

Instead of calling it a stench, let’s call it a metaphor. Let’s think about “those things” we don’t like about ourselves, that we know we have, but think they’re part of us. We can control it sometimes, but it takes concentration. Or discipline. Or it’s a trait we cannot shake. We don’t have the energy, enough motivation, or the education. But some of those are choices.

Within reason, we can change lots of things. Our gender, our height with high heels for women, or great camera angles if you’re Tom Cruise, who is about 5’8″ tall. We know of people who are born with nothing, or some other variation of “less than.” Abandoned. Crushed. Disabled. Enslaved. And we realize that they are not lucky. Except that sometimes those are the very hurdles that make these people all the more driven to do better. They learn to read on their own. Or find a way to compete in sports, their way. They seek freedom or asylum. They may be different, but they figure out how to use that as leverage or as a superpower.

The problem is that many times fear of the unknown makes the task at hand seem unsupportable and impossible. Both failure and success are scary in their own way. For instance, I have been afraid to publish my book Deathlist because I don’t know if anyone will like it. Or if they’ll like Death. Or like me. Death is a hoot, but she’s also a lot of work. And she does stink sometimes. But if she’s like me, or if I’m like her, I should say, we both need to be more accepting, but also more willing to change our smell, our attitude, our fears, our hopes, and our goals.

Saving My Humanity

Death stinks. My imperfections are not quite as smelly…I don’t think. Maybe they are. Like Death, I might try to save my version of humanity. My family, and my friends and neighbors, and of course my dog. However, Death has friends in higher places. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to name three. And while they abandon her, she still keeps trying to overcome her “imperfection” and to save the human race and her job. Guess we’ll have to see how we do.

If she can hang in with her odor, so can I with my “whatever’s.”

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