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A New Angle To Evaluate Our Life

My first fall and Halloween in the U.S. after living overseas, I was excited by the enthusiasm shown for this season in the Midwest -- people decorating with straw bales, pumpkins, ornamental corn, elaborate spider webs, and an array of ghoulish caricatures.

Now the parade of trick-or-treaters has ended, and they’re finishing off the less-desirable candy. Day of the Dead and All Souls Day have also just passed – a time to celebrate and honor loved ones who have passed away.

A few years ago, I visited the Mexican Museum of Fine Arts in Chicago and was struck by the beauty, whimsy, and reverence of the Day of the Dead exhibits. I felt like they expressed a connection to death that many of us resist or ignore even though, whether recognized or suppressed, it is a presence in our lives. I sense this particularly with age and during the late fall.

I wonder if -- instead of avoiding thoughts of death -- we integrated its inevitability into our daily interactions with one another, would we see more clearly how we’re all related, let go of some of our egos, and get on with what really matters in the broader scheme of things?

I find when I’m aware of the transience of the human experience, I pause more and take time to be grateful. As I gradually, with reluctance, accept the approach of winter, maybe I can do the same with whatever the season after this life may be.

I’m Paula Garrett, and that’s my perspective.

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