I love encountering wisdom in those who have come before me. Here is what the existential theologian Soren Kierkegaard counsels: "To live in the face of death is to die unto death." He writes with the force of biblical authority. But whatever does he mean?
Living with consciousness of one's own mortality is to live with great courage. I choose life despite the fact that I know I am going to die one day--it could be in 50 years, it could be tonight. In facing one's death one transcends death; it no longer exercises a constricting influence on one's consciousness. Courage, for Kierkegaard, subdues, nullifies, death. The word "courage" comes from 'cor,' which means heart. In other words, by taking death to heart, by taking death into one's heart, love weds death. There is no more extraordinary union than this; it is a communion in the most sacred sense. The marriage of love and death transports one into eternity, which is beyond the field of the known.