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 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