Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Am I ready...?

Am I ready to die this very minute?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? Ever? And were you able to answer with a 'yes'?

There were only two moments in my entire life when I felt ready to die at that very instance. One of them happened during the war.

Living in constant danger of being shot certainly increased our chances of dying any minute. But most of the time I was just trying my best to avoid death. Rarely would I think about 'what if'. And when I did, I would always conclude that I still wanted to fight to survive. It seemed that other people had the same force driving them to live, because interestingly, in spite of lack of nutrition, we were all rather healthy.

But this one time, I was particularly aware of how close the end of my life could be, and there was nothing I could do about it. It might have been late 1995 and I was riding on a bus. The bus was following the street parallel to the river, the street that was going along side the hill Trebevic, from where most of the missiles came. Standing next to a window, I was observing those houses and woods up the hill. There were few buildings that were protecting us from the view, but for most of the route the hill was very visible from the bus, and vice-versa. I was thinking about how there have been before, and maybe there were at that very moment, snipers looking and targeting at vehicles on the streets bellow. And that there may be one that is targeting at me right there.

At one point, in the minuscule reality of that scene in the bus, the realization came: "I am ready to die right now". And I felt at peace with that. I was not afraid, anxious, nor angry. I don't believe I was giving up, but I wasn't resisting either. My mind was not grasping for control in protecting my body. I didn't have any regrets. I thought I lived my life the best way I could, and for that brief moment, I felt like my soul was clean and ready to leave the pettiness of this world and meet its Creator. And for me that meant continuing onto something better for which I was ready.

I was ready to die.

I thought about this in the years since then and how liberating it felt to be ready. Like I said earlier, only one other time was I physically, mentally, and spiritually ready to go in that particular moment. Usually my answer would be: "could I go tomorrow?", because I had, or at least I thought I had, things to take care of. I have tried to remind myself every now and then that I never know when I'll be called home and try to be prepared mentally that it is inevitable. Even thinking about it on occasion has helped me live in a way where I could at least be a little bit more ready tomorrow.

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