Palm Sunday is important as it marks the beginning of Holy Week, which for me is the most important week of the year. The reason it’s so important to me is because it’s a reminder that though death is a part of human experience, it doesn’t have to be feared.
See, we have a daily opportunity to re-set our lives on courses that can be healthier than the day before. We all fight personal demons that can cause us to suffer, but in fearing death, we provide those demons with strong weapons that they do not hesitate to use against us.
In my heart, I know I’ve hurt people and that I have a long way to go in order to be the person who I envision myself becoming. But in those times when I allow the fear of death to enter my soul, every sin I’ve committed is roused to the front of my mind and the demons run amok using the fuel that my fear provides. Every “bad thing” I’ve done illuminates against the shadows that Death brings and rouses the other demon of human experience: Shame.
No one’s perfect, but in those moments when fear creeps into my soul, the shame of my past sins envelops and clouds my mind and knocks me on my ass. Shame is an interesting demon: With me, it uses the biggest two-letter word in English, “If,” to drive me into a frenzy of impossible scenariolizing. I tell myself things like, “if I had only done this differently, then maybe that wouldn’t have happened,” or, “Damn, I wish I hadn’t done that – things would be so better if I didn’t…”
But then Holy Week arrives and I’m reminded that death is a basic and necessary part of human life. It isn’t something to be feared; it’s something that should remind us that our time is precious and should be valued. Human life is meant for a higher purpose: Even if, individually, people don’t see their respective purpose, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have one. I believe that people are presented with the same battles, over and over again because they are supposed to learn from them and use that new knowledge along their life’s path. Instead, we find reasons to suffer and maintain the reasons for our suffering as though the pain is supposed to exist. It isn’t.
In fighting addiction as I do, I’ve learned that there’s a negativistic outlook that has shackled people into thinking that life sucks and then we die. But in facing death and removing any fear about it, we can then confront the sources of our own personal demons that arouse fear and shame. I use the time I get during Holy Week to do just that: Face the fear of death such that I can face the fears I carry and in doing so, remove them.
No one is perfect. No one has all the answers. I’ve fallen short several times in my life. I’ve failed to act and I have acted towards failure. I pray this week that God allows me the courage to recognize and accept that although I have fallen short, I am still capable of fulfilling my purpose on this Earth in this time. Death: Thou Shalt Die.