December 28, 2017

"I wonder whether it was not by remembering with shame the loveless child he had been that Jesus became filled with love, ultimately an ecstatic, enthusiastic, understanding man who emphasized the good even in a felon, who praised beauty even in what is ugly. This anecdote is a favorite of the Sufis, and also the one I love best: Jesus and his disciples come across a dead, half-decayed dog, lying with its mouth open. 'How horribly it stinks,' say the disciples, turning aside in disgust. But Jesus says, 'See how splendidly its teeth shine!' Jesus might have been speaking not only of the dog but also the child he used to be."
Navid Kermani in "Wonder Beyond Belief" (via Harper's), speaking of the non-canonical Infancy Gospel of Thomas
Besides the reference to personal growth - not something easy for me to have faith in - I appreciate that it captures an issue much on my mind, how people have such difficulty seeing that most things are mix of attributes, some of which we like, some of which we don't. (Or more specifically, some we'll call good, some we'll call bad, and often the presence of the bad will cause us to condemn the whole thing - or person.) A high tech "memento mori", "WeCroak" is an app that sends you five randomly-timed reminders a day of your own mortality, including relevant quotes.

That...seems a bit much, maybe? WDYT? Do you prefer to not think about death on the regular, or do you think facing the concept of the end head on can get us to take more advantage of the life we find ourselves granted?