An essay by Rico Provasoli.
When death comes, may it find you alive.”
– African Proverb
Before I die, I want to be so fully alive, with so few regrets, that I will leave the party fully satiated. To have lived a life so complete, having honored marriage, the privilege and responsibility of raising and educating two children, mastering a profession, written a book or two, well, what more could any man want to have left behind?
To have crossed oceans, dove beneath the seas from France to Hawaii to Japan, to have explored the treasures below, to have skied the majestic Alps for an entire winter, to have flown paragliders in half a dozen countries, violent downdrafts leaving me weak-kneed and downright religious, and survived to tell the tale – well, what else could a man have even dreamed of?
To have knelt before holy men, to have risked ridicule by taking vows deemed pagan by his Italian Catholic heritage, to have been devoted to living a deeper reality beyond the fickle approval of others, well, what else would a man dare other than to follow a path his own heart demands?
And when he casually threw security to the winds, trusting – mostly dismissing the voice of reason – that his was a calling unbound by the chains of that false promise of a happy old age… and in spite of all the young lives struck down by the whims of life’s roulette table of tragically early death – well, how else would Zorba the Greek have danced?
Once you have stepped on the path to find God
there is no turning back; and you will
find this takes tremendous courage.
For God and the Devil are in a partnership,
and good and evil are not enemies.
You will be tried and confused by this.
And you may meet men of intense passion
who dance and sing in celebration of light
as easily as they weep and lament darkness.
Yet they are not in conflict with the other,
rather it cuts loose the ties binding them
to the judgments of lesser men.
It takes a certain madness and freedom
to fly alone, to sweep your wings
in abandon toward the endless horizon.
With my energy spent, sitting out the next dance, my physical prowess diminishes. Yet I can’t help but believe – not exactly a conviction, but a greater trust in the mystery – that the infinite cosmos has an order and rhythm my mind cannot fathom.
So, when it is my time to die, my time to jump off the cliff of the living, may I muster the courage to go willingly, to dive into the boundless dimension with gusto, cheer and joy.