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The Life We are Given

“A man can die but once; we owe God a death. ” – Shakespeare (King Henry IV)

Shakespeare said, “A man can die but once; we owe God a death. “(King Henry IV)

I don’t want to discuss the issue of God and whether we owe God a death, but I think we can all agree that we die. In fact, death is a natural consequence of birth.

However, I thought about this Shakespeare line, and wondered: since death is unavoidable, don’t we really owe a life? Not just a life, but a good life?

Granted, one could argue that we didn’t ask to be born, and in that case, we owe nothing to anyone. But that assumes that we grew up with no help from anyone; that somehow we managed to get where we are with no assistance.

That is impossible. The road I use, the coffee I drink, the internet I am writing this on are here courtesy of many, many others. As the 17th century poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island.”

If I am part of the greater cosmos, then what I do with my one and only life is critical. One day, I will have to pay the debt of death for this precious life I’ve been given. I pray I have not squandered it. 

What are you doing with the one life you were given? 

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