Life and Death

Recently things at home have been a bit stressful as my daughter Charanjeet moves into a new stage ("talking" and SCREAMING! It’s a mixture of joy and pain!). Lately she has been doing this high pitched scream, much of the times as a result of her brother Narayan picking on her or doing something to her (not always Narayan’s fault though). It’s so challenging trying to discipline them and keep sanity. It’s definitely a different picture with two kids.

Earlier today at Gurdwara I was shocked with the news that two people I knew died. One of them was a Sikh youth who lived here in Espanola and another older Sikh from Norway. Their deaths were totally unrelated other than similar timing. It struck me hard as I sat there in Gurdwara already feeling bad from fighting off a sore throat. I knew both of them well, though they were not close friends that I interacted with very often. However, the suddenness of it and having someone you knew personally made it a shock…and I felt a sadness. During Ardas the sangat chanted long "Akaaaaal" five times in prayer to help their souls move on. I couldn’t get myself to chant it until that last time as I was feeling so emotional as tears rolled out of my eyes.

It’s always times like these when you have hardship, feel bad, or are in some low period that you remember that life is short and you never know when your time will be up. In the Siri Guru Granth Sahib there is so much written on this topic of how life is short and we waste the time caught up in Maya. There is a certain laziness that that always wants to take hold. It’s this feeling that "I’ll live forever"….and "I’ll do something tomorrow". In reality though, for most people tomorrow comes too late. It’s only when your life is over or ending that you wish you had done something differently. This is the case also for change (personal and social). Sometimes things have to get so bad that people WAKE UP and make a change. I guess most of us are motivated more by wanting to get away from pain (when you are in it)….than our interest to prevent pain.

So as I look at my life, the daily challenges with my own spiritual discipline, and raising my children, these deaths are a reminder to me of how short life is….and how suddenly death can knock at your door. I often ask myself the question…"If I were to die right now…would my mission/goal on this earth be done"? The answer for me always is "No"….since I feel like I have much still to do. However, I could die tomorrow….whether I am ready or not. So, this is another wakeup call for myself and hopefully you, to not delay. We may not all be able to live each day like it might be the last, but we can all do more than we are and take small steps to become better people, and work on developing that spiritual discipline and the connection inside each of us. You can’t tell when your life will end, but what you can do is make a conscious choice in how you live each day.

My love and prayers go to those friends who have moved on…..and to the families who are still here. May the Guru comfort them in this transition.