“. . . in many traditions you have this notion that throughout our lives we train for a right dying; and that means to train for flowing with life, for giving ourselves. And this suggests some more symptomatic idioms of taking and giving that show ways we can make the inner gesture of dying: giving thanks instead of taking for granted; giving up rather than taking possession: for-giving as, opposed to taking offense. What we take for granted does not make us happy; what we hold on to deteriorates in our grasp; what we take offense at we make into a hurdle we can’t get past. But in giving thanks, giving up, forgiving, we die here and now and become more fully alive.”
Story editor Betsy Cornwell shares excerpts from Brother David Steindl-Rast’s essay “Learning to Die,” which appeared in the Winter 1977 issue of Parabola, “Death.” Read the full essay for free here.
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