I catch the movie Meet Joe Black and finally see it beginning to end–I’ve only ever seen the ending. I am stunned by Brad Pitt’s beauty. He’s playing Death, and I think, what if death really is this beautiful?

It’s over, Anthony Hopkins’ character says. He means his life. The words reverberate. What a moment that must be: when you know to your core that you are going to die. Does that realization change you? Cleanse you? Purify? Electrify? What? It seems like it would have to shade the acts of living a precious vibrant purple, a bold, deliberate red.

And at the end, before Hopkins walks away with beautiful death, he says to the people gathered to celebrate his birthday, I want nothing more.

I’m reminded of a Sufi poem by Rumi:

On the day I die, when I’m being carried toward the grave

don’t weep,

don’t say “he’s gone! he’s gone!”

 Death has nothing to do with going away.

The sun sets and the moon sets

but they’re not gone.

 Death is a coming together.

The tomb looks like a prison 

But it’s really release into Union.

 The human seed goes down in the ground

like a bucket into the well where Joseph is.

It grows and comes up full of some unimagined beauty.

 Your mouth closes here

and immediately opens with a shout of joy



5 responses to “joe

  1. What a beautiful mind you have!


  2. This is a beautiful piece on peace. Thank you. I loved that movie and Brad Pitt was wonderful as death. But thinking of death, of evaporating somehow into another dimension is sort of incomprehensible to me. I know it but I don’t KNOW it.

  3. I’m not ready to stop … stop reading your words, stop embracing the beauty, stop reaching down into the well, stop gasping for air (much less close my mouth) building up to the shout of joy for being alive … thank you.

  4. Meet Joe Black is on my all time favorites list. I love the everything about the movie. Even played the track from the score “Peanut Butter Man” at my wedding.

  5. Jeannine Holley

    Rumi is one of my favorites !! now, saying that, death holds no fear for me since I have died many times before, and after resting have returned . . . next time though I do not think I want to come back, I believe I have done all I was to do here . . . I hope no one needs me when I leave this time (that is the only thing that bothers me, that someone I love still needs my physical presence) . . . Karleen I absolutely love everything you have written, how wonderful that you are here at the same time we are . . . let us all “Shout For Joy”.

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