Who can live and not see death, or who can escape the power of the grave?

― Psalm 89:48

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgement . . .

― Hebrews 9:27

The most obvious, the most easily apprehended ultimate concern is death.  We exist now, but one day shall cease to be.  Death will come, and there is no escape from it. It is a terrible truth, and we respond to it with mortal terror.

― Irvin Yalom

Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt in your face.

Then the worms eat you. Be grateful it happens in that order.

― David Gerrold


Dear Munchkins,

Well, I’ve talked about not hanging around narcissists and sociopaths, standing up to evil when you’re called to do so, and refraining from any and all forms of verbal abuse, so I might as well talk about another unpleasant topic – death.

One day, and none of us know when, each of us is going to pass out of this life and into another. The issue here isn’t “Are we going to die?”  That’s a given. The issue is “How are we going to live.”

William Wallace put it this way,Every man dies – not every man really lives.”

You may think I’ve lost my mind, but I think it’s a good thing we’re going to die.


Well, if we had an unlimited amount of time here on earth, we’d be so much more likely to fritter our lives away and waste them on the endless pursuit of pleasure. The quality of our lives would probably regress to something pretty pathetic if the clock weren’t ticking, don’t you think?

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross rightly observed, “It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”

I would add that it’s also a good thing that we’re not coming back.


Well, just like we’d be tempted to waste time if we had all the time in the world, we’d be tempted to waste time if we were going to come back an unlimited number of times. That you only get one time at bat before your life is over makes it even more important that you live as fully as possible.

Emily Dickenson put the most positive spin on this that I’ve ever heard, saying,That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”

So, let’s talk about living life to the full so we won’t run from or worry about death.

First, devote your life to making the world a better place.  Whether it’s in your vocation, avocation, or both, keep in mind that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor and that you are putting your life to good use when that’s what you’re trying to do each day.

Anytime you’re meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of others and/or acting in a way that helps people grow into mature adults, you’re loving your neighbor and using your time here on earth wisely and well.

Corazon Aquino said, “I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.”

Second, create something positive and constructive that will outlast you, not for ego reasons but for the betterment of others and the glory of God.

Chuck Palahniuk said, “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”

This is what we psychologists call “generativity.” I hope this book falls into that category given that I’m writing it for you munchkins, your munchkins, and your munchkin’s munchkins in an effort to help all of you live better lives.

Third, live each day like it’s your last. Part of living each day fully is not only to leave the world better off but commit to learning new things each day. We never know when the final bell is going to toll, but we’re in the classroom the whole time and need to learn as much as we can along the way.

Mahatma Ghandi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”  Wise words

Fourth, don’t let being young fool you into thinking you can start living life more fully later on.

Benjamin Franklin was right when he said, “Many people die at twenty-five and aren’t buried until they are seventy-five.”

Far too many of us are a “dead man walking” in how we live life, especially those who think we have lots of years of life ahead of us.

Don’t presume you have even one more day of life ahead of you.  Live life as fully and meaningfully in the here-and-now as you can, not looking behind too much and not looking ahead too much.

Fifth, don’t let things die inside of you that God meant you to be.  God meant you to be passionate, excited, energetic, enthusiastic, and hopeful about life.  Sometimes, we let all those important qualities get knocked out of us because of the slings and arrows that come our way.  Don’t.

Norman Cousins wisely noted, “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”

Sixth, go after the deeper things of life while you’re here. The world we live in trumpets the shallower things, the big three being wealth, power, and sex.

While we have to live in this world, we don’t want to live life the way the world lives it.

Strive for things that really matter, not all the superficial glittery stuff that’s offered to you on a daily basis.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is not length of life, but depth of life.”

Anaïs Nin said, “People living deeply have no fear of death.”

Anyone can live a life of quantity, but very few live a life of quality.
Finally, live life in such a way that people are going to miss you when you’re gone. Again, we’re not to do this for ego reasons but for the betterment of others.

Loving others in a rich and deep manner leads to leaving an imprint on the human heart that will make those you leave behind wish you were still here.

I’m hoping you munchkins weep uncontrollably when Pop dies because you felt so deeply loved by him.

As humorist Mark Twain put it, “Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”

Munchkins, you’re going to die. Accept it, even embrace it, so that your life with be marked by passion, enthusiasm, and depth.