Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wisdom from Beowulf.

School has started and my first class is a British Lit class. I just read half of the epic poem Beowulf today. It's one of the oldest literary works written in the English language (although English was a very different language in the year 800, I've heard), so I thought even with a modern translation, it would be incomprehensible. But it's actually quite cool and there seems to be a major theme running through the story. This quote articulates it nicely:

"For every one of us, living in this world/ means waiting for our end." (Lines 1386-87)

This can be a depressing sentiment, considering that all we really know is living in this world in this mortal state. It is disheartening to think of life ending. But I think we need to keep the fact that it will end somewhere in the back of our minds or we will forget to cherish the time we have while it lasts.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big believer in heaven and many wonderful things in the eternities, even though those things are beyond my comprehension. But there is just something about the first time you experience a thing that makes it special and definite in your mind. This life we're in right now is a one-time thing and we don't get to decide when the end will come. To live fully is to understand the temperary nature of life and take advantage of every small moment.