“Life is a school in which we are trained to depart.
That is what mortification really means: training to die,
to cut away the enslaving ties with the past so that
what we call death is not a surprise anymore but the last
of many gateways that lead to the full human person.”
—Henri Nouwen

Our bodies are finite, so there has to be a transition to the eternal: I get that. What I don’t get is being “mortified” in the process. Mortify means, “to humiliate or shame, as by injury to one’s pride or self-respect.” Why does death have to be so difficult and demeaning? Why do so many suffer so much and linger so long in its shadow?

Do we really have to be humiliated into giving up these broken bodies for perfect replacements? Apparently so.

The borderland between the two worlds is rough terrain and the journey arduous for most. On the other side lies a new frontier. A few travelers have even managed to return and tell us about the Elysian Fields awaiting us. That means there’s hope beyond the hurting—but is it enough to ameliorate the pain?

Not on some days.

“Modernity’s double punishment is to make us
both age prematurely and live longer.”
—Nassim Nicholas Taleb


3 thoughts on “Mortified

  1. Stan Farmer @ His Mansion recommended I contact you because I am researcging the best and least expensive way to self publish books, and ‘ebooks.’ I saw Stan today while taking my daughter on a tour of His Mansion Ministries where I was a ‘student’ 26 years ago. Stan explained with visible sorrow for you the ways you have been afflicted over recent years. If you have time to correspond regarding Christian writing ventures with this novice writer, please drop me an email. I’m having touble with this post in terms of getting to the last line again as I backtracked, so it will end choppy but I think okay in the end….here’s the rest: I read some of your blog postsand my daughter and I prayed for you after reading Psalm 42 (which I send your way as suggested reading. As a Nursing Assistant I see lessor, similar and worse sufferings that you are experiencing and know absent a sudden death myself, I may face any of the three levels and be a patient in room 23 (unlike you

    1. …I was writing (unlike you…who has a loving family to live with my sense is that won’t be the case with me in my old age…) I thank you for your time and hope you might have the time and energy to correspond about my hope to write and self publish books. Thanks!

  2. Friend, you have had more than your “fair share” of those ‘mortifying days’ – more than most. It is also frustrating that we are unable to lighten that pain of those we care about even if we are willing to share directly in the burden. More questions than answers….

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