No one sees life in the right perspective until we see it from its end. In order for a life of significance to be achieved, we must see life itself from its end. This story will help.
The 19th century novelist Fyodor Dostoyevski experienced this first hand. He was imprisoned and condemned to 8 years of hard labor. After being in custody for a time, his sentence was changed to execution by firing squad. He was marched with other condemned prisoners through snow on a cold day to the beat of a death march on the drums. He watched the priest administer last rites to the three guys in front of him. He would be next. The men were then marched forward and tied to a stake. Their eyes were covered, the firing squad took aim, but nothing happened. Amazingly, the drums sounded a retreat, the rifles were lowered, and Dostoyevski and others were spared.
Dostoyevski was changed. He wrote a letter to his brother: “When I look back on my past and think how much time has been lost in futilities, errors, laziness, incapacity to live; how little I appreciated it…” By seeing life from its end, Dostoyevski was changed.
When an atheist or anyone for that matter, sees life from its end, they never are the same. Death actually gives meaning to today. It awakens us out of the sluggishness of everyday life, out of shallow idealogies, out of apathetic spiritual interests, and out of our intellectual pride. Without death, we would squander life, would not appreciate our years, and would never cherish the meaning of today.
Like they say at the end of the movie, Tuck Everlasting: “Do not fear death; fear rather the unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.” And living is not possible, true living, until we see life from its end; and when you do, you will never be the same.