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Goodbye Michael Jackson, hello to life...

As I watch Michael Jackson’s memorial service I am inhaling and exhaling slowly and deliberately. It would be convenient to say that I am doing it because of what he meant to me. However, the truth is I breathe deeply whenever I am at a funeral, hear about a plane crash, or otherwise am touched by death. The death reminds me of how fragile life is. I begin my breathing exercise instinctively. It’s as if I believe that breathing consciously will protect me somehow.

We are taught to trust our instincts. Does it then follow that we become aware of our deaths before it happens?

When I was in the hospital a couple of months ago, I once felt myself slipping away and I fought it. The feeling was probably caused by my low blood pressure. However, I was afraid that my life would be cut short and I would go too soon. I feared that going to sleep might lead to my death. I knew that I was blessed. However, I arrogantly believed that my willpower made a difference.

The media has said that Michael Jackson’s last days were full of his enthusiasm about his concert tour. He wanted to succeed so badly that he gave it everything he had. This portrayal confuses me greatly. For him to be taken in the midst of great hope makes me wonder whether willpower has anything to do with avoiding death. We all simply go when it is our time. It’s simply human nature.

So, as I watch those honoring Michael Jackson’s life at the memorial service and breathe in and breathe out, my faith is renewed. I realize don’t really need to know the date of my death. There’s nothing that I could do about it anyway. However, I need to celebrate each breath--not because it will help me avoid death, but because life is lived one breath at a time.
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