Becoming Familiar With Death

But mortification – literally, “making death” – is what life is all about, a slow discovery of the mortality of all that is created so that we can appreciate its beauty without clinging to it as if it were a lasting possession. Our lives can indeed be seen as a process of becoming familiar with death, as a school in the art of dying . . . all these times have passed by like friendly visitors, leaving you with dear memories but also with the sad recognition of the shortness of life. In every arrival there is a leave-taking; in every reunion there is a separation; in each one’s growing up there is a growing old; in every smile there is a tear; and in every success there is a loss. All living is dying and all celebration is mortification too.

 
–  Henri J.M. Nouwen in Show Me The Way: Readings for Each Day of Lent

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