Before the beginning of yearsThere came to the making of manTime, with a gift of tears;Grief, with a glass that ran;Pleasure, with pain for leaven;Summer, with flowers that fell;Remembrance, fallen from heaven,And madness risen from hell;Strength without hands to smite;Love that endures for a breath;Night, the shadow of light,And Life, the shadow of death.
The story of my recent life.' I like that phrase. It makes more sense than 'the story of my life', because we get so many lives between birth and death. A life to be a child. A life to come of age. A life to wander, to settle, to fall in love, to parent, to test our promise, to realize our mortality- and in some lucky cases, to do something after that realization.
The reappearance of the crescent moon after the new moon; the return of the Sun after a total eclipse, the rising of the Sun in the morning after its troublesome absence at night were noted by people around the world; these phenomena spoke to our ancestors of the possibility of surviving death. Up there in the skies was also a metaphor of immortality.
If we all knew each morning that there was going to be another morning, and on and on and on, we's tend not to notice the sunrise, or hear the birds, or the waves rolling into the shore. We'd tend not to treasure our time with the people we love. Simply the awareness that our mortal lives had a beginning and will have an end enhances the quality of our living. Perhaps it's even more intense when we know that the termination of the body is near, but it shouldn't be.