Last week I met my friend Mike Dugan in downtown Los Angeles to see his new place. It only cost him $5,000 and it is literally - to die for! He calls it his "Downtown Condo" and it's located on the corner of Temple & Grande directly across from the Frank Gehry
designed, Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Los Angeles is a great place to live (with acceptance)
Walt Disney Concert Hall what a view!
Who said there's no more real estate deals to be had in Los Angeles? Apparently there are but only for those who can really accept the unavoidable reality that one day this life will come to an end. Why is that? Because they are located in the mausoleum of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels
. It's true, just like my friend Mike, you too can be entombed in the cellar of the Cathedral for as little as $5,000.
All kidding aside I appreciate Mike's new "condo" because it ironically relieves my fear of death. And this is good news because as long as I can remember I had a terrible fear of death. As an mere eight-year-old I was overly concerned about being drafted to the Vietnam War hoping that day would never come. Too scared to let anyone know I was afraid, I kept it to myself. Big mistake. I am sure if I confided in someone else I would have been relieved to discover I wasn't the only one who was afraid of death.
Death may be inevitable but the fear of it doesn't have to be constantly lingering in the shadows. My friend Mike is a living example that the acceptance of death adds joy to living. I have found acceptance by changing my perception of death. Looking at it as a part of life and not the end of it. I also throw in that, "It can't be that bad if it's the one thing, other than being born, that we ALL have in common." Honestly, I still get a little creep-ed out every time I fill-out paper work when I go in for simple procedure at the hospital when it refers to power of attorney and how to divvy up my organs. In cases like these I find just diving right in and signing without too much thought (or reading) frees my spirit of unnecessary worry.
Accepting this fact of death rather than fearing it, trying to avoid thinking about it, or denying it, helps me appreciate every moment and everybody in my life to the fullest. In this healthy frame of mind strangers become fellow travelers and allowing someone ahead of me in traffic is a pleasure instead of an irritating obligation. Acceptance of death has the unlikely effect of adding life to our lives.
My friend Mike is a guy who really knows how to live
Here is a comforting read from the book, Around the Year with Emmet Fox
, that Mike Dugan gave me over 25 years ago and that I still read from each morning. Enjoy.
Nothing is really worth worrying about. Nothing is really worth getting angry or hurt or bitter about. Positively nothing is worth losing your peace of mind over.
These important truths follow logically upon the following fact: You are going to live forever - somewhere. This means that there is plenty of time to get things right again if they have gone wrong. No matter what mistake you may have made, enough prayer will overtake it and cancel it. If those you love seem to be acting foolishly, you can help them with prayer to be wiser, and, meanwhile, if they suffer, it means that kindly nature is teaching the a lesson that they need to learn.
But suppose something awful should happen? Well, what then? Suppose you lost everything and landed in the poorhouse. What then? Think what a wonderful demonstration you could make there, and you would probably learn several valuable lessons there, and, anyway, it would be quite interesting. Suppose the whole universe blew up. What then? When the dust settles, God will still be in business and you will be alive somewhere, ready to carry on."
-From Around the Year with Emmet Fox
, daily reading for November 21st.