Death is the ultimate, final detachment. There are two ways to look at this detachment, one of fear and one of freedom.
As we are removed from the earthly cares, the mortgages, the retirement living, the children (adult and young), the relationships, and nearly everything that consumes our minds, we are faced with this choice.
In contemplation, I choose to detach myself from all commitments to this earth. Detachment, in this sense, as I picture it in my mind as I meditate is to watch my fingers let go of the steely grip with which I tend to hold things. I freely let go of the burden of that mortgage about which I just wrote. I freely let go of the burden of paying for all my stuff. I freely let go of those things that I see as burdensome responsibilities. But then, there are other things which I do not wish to let go because in them I feel my most ultimate control and power.
I reluctantly let go of my right of outrage at the injustices done to me. I reluctantly let go of my judgment of others. I reluctantly let go of my pettiness. I reluctantly let go of my desire for achievement, success, and whatever measure of fame my vocation, my position, my job, my abilities can give me amongst mortals.
Then, I let go of those things I cherish: my family, my books, my devotion to my sports teams, etc. The point is to give them away to God and remove my desire for them all.
If I am attached to all of these earthly things, then death is a fearful thing. It is a thing that is to be dreaded, feared, and avoided at all costs. The meaning of my life, then, is what I can control; what I value.
If, on the other hand, I am devoted to Jesus Christ, in whom the whole creation is held together, I am willing to give up control of these things because I understand that trying to be in good relationships, pay for the expenses of life, and to be emotionally invested in too much entertainment (for instance) is a burden and weight. It is a weight that can make failure to achieve a source of failure of the self.
Detachment, the giving up control and desire for the things of this world, is a source of joy because I know that God is going to take care of all the things that I would otherwise treasure. In Death, then, I can be detached as a path of freedom to a place where death and dying, mourning and crying, deceit and lying are no more.
Death becomes my friend, my expectant brother/sister, who welcomes me to peace, joy, laughter, and goodness. Death is my invitation to communion with God apart from all the burdens of this life.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian