Raging Against the Dying Of the Light

I’m not quite sure what the universe is telling me today.

Today, I learned that actor, director and scholar Terry Jones, of Monty Python famed, has died. At the end of a meal, when in the company of friends, I always say “just a thin wafer”. That’s how much his sense of humour has impacted me.

Today I also read: I Watched a Man Die In The McDonald’s Drive-Thru Last Night by Evelyn Martinez. It is a poignant, beautifully written, well worth your time.

As I always do when death is near, I think of the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into The Good Night”, by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Its stark power speaks to me. It is personal, words that I wish would have caused my own father to beat his cancer into submission. My creative side reads it in awe of Thomas’ genius. The gentle optimist in me sees it as an affront to the desire to die well and peacefully, accepting Death as an old friend, whilst the fighter yells “Hell ya, don’t let that bugger get away without a few bruises and broken bones!” The Quixotic Pastor understands the wise man’s futile plight to bring light into the darkness, especially when the darkness seems all too real. The realist accepts how I have been a burden on the sunny presences in my life that I have dragged down with my folly and weakness. I am the optimist who likes to think that there joy even when I am too blind to see it.

This life is worth living. Even when the light is dying out. Even when there is nothing but fierce tears. I think of Hunter S. Thompson’s words, his take on raging against the dying of the light:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

I’m not afraid of death in the least. I’m afraid of not living fully, hiding in the dark shadows silently, rather than sliding in triumphantly, my last, raging breath proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

Written by

100% Italian, Born and raised in Canada, Presbyterian Pastor, Maker, Singer, Writer, Musician, Theatre, Married, Father, Learner, choosing Love, he/him

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