I'm looking up into the autumn leaves, and I realize I'm watching a glorious death. These colors--this vibrant display of glory--come at the point of death (technically the disintegration of chlorophyll). This beautiful moment represents the end of life for these leaves. I don't name it as tragic. I revel in this autumn landscape. I take a picture and marvel.
What forms of death are glorious? When, like these leaves, is death a moment of glory?
A Glorious Death
I think of when the will bends to God in a moment of surrender. I think of what it means to become absorbed in divine purposes--letting my right to my own life, my own plans, and my own demands disintegrate like chlorophyll. Like autumn leaves, I am most beautiful when I'm at the end of myself. The Christian life might be seen as a glorious dying--a surrender of self--to become a child of the one whose Glorious Death wasn't tragic but victorious and radiant.
Later, I hike through a forest and come upon a massive decaying tree. I think of this as a glorious death as I imagine the refuge and nourishment such a dying tree provides for the ecosystem. Might I see my own life as a fallen tree, bowed down, dead to self, so that I might find the life that's truly life?
A life surrendered might feel tragic and painful. But not for long. It's nourishing, radiant, glorious. We see and marvel.