Even though we don’t have a choice about its imminence, there is something significant in accepting our dying. There is implied trust and there is choice. I’m not talking as much here about death as I am about dying. The inevitable part is death itself. It does not involve trust and choice, or even acceptance so much as dying does. Dying is the process that began with my birth. From that moment on I was dying. So, in a way, the acceptance, trust and choice we exercise in dying is also the acceptance, choice and trust we exercise in life since dying is an inevitably large part of living.
We don’t think too much about it in our early or even middle years. But as we get older and are besieged by the aches, pains and failures of various body parts and the increase in mental lapses we become increasingly aware that we are dying. The bodily functions and rhythms, normally taken for granted, harbor all kinds of anxieties when they change or get out of whack with age. I construe each new ache or functional anomaly as the sure foreshadowing of my demise.
Worst of all, though, are the mental lapses. I get angry about these. Doting old men and women I have known require a patience and solicitude that I normally do not consider as something required to be shown to me. But as time and circumstances magnify these possibilities and a steady flow in the attrition of gray-matter takes hold, the patience and solicitude I may have exercised for others I am incapable of exercising for myself. I am, right now, squarely at the margins of these parameters and, unless I yield to accepting and trusting in their inevitability, I can see myself becoming a grumpy old curmudgeon.
Death will happen. It’s the gateway to genuine life. But dying (like living) is fraught with worry and anxiety. Your acceptance of “Your hour” and Your advice to “be not afraid” rest squarely on Your love for and knowledge of Your Father. You have shown us that it is quite natural to welcome death but to have anxieties about dying.