Have you ever thought of this world as a casket?
Casket originally meant a small box for jewels or jewelry. It is a storage and repository for valuables. Then, over time, the usage of the word shifted to refer to a coffin, a storage and repository for corpses: a death-casket. This is likely our primary exposure to the term casket: a storage and housing for dead bodies.
Now, we may be more ready to explore how this planet is a casket world.
We’ll begin with the more pleasant analogy.
For many, this old world is full of wonder and wonderful people. For some, their spouse may be a diamond-in-the-rough or their child a real gem. Their friends may be golden and sibling comradery a priceless charm. For such perceivers, it is easy to behold this world as a jewelry box.
The very nature and visionary beauty of the earth and its remarkable environs of mountains, lakes, seas, deserts, plains, and all types of terrains are as shining lights in the midst of deep, dark space. Moreover, the mysteries of the under-explored places and phenomena in this world can captivate even a most jaded person as being ornamental on this terrestrial tree, as it were, of a planet.
In such ways, this world can be convincingly argued as a casket in the sense where jewels of all sizes, colors, textures, and worth are stored, housed and tentatively preserved.
Now, we come to the less pleasant analogy, but one that is just as valid.
As the ending of the above section remarks, this world is a jewelry box that warehouses valuable contents, but only tentatively so. Tentatively, as the stark reality of this planet is that, though life is abundantly evident everywhere, equally vibrant and universal is the fact of decay and death. Ours is an undeniable death-casket world, an eventual warehouse for lifeless corpses and decaying matter.
As plainly as can be said, the very wonders and wonderful people who are our jewels in this world will, as a matter of course, become contents of this death-casket world. It is a sorry and sorrowful confession. The subsequent outlook for people we hold dear does not bode well in terms of their ability to escape a terminal end. This world is a veritable casket for all mortals and creatures of tentative natures.
What of it?
This was an exercise in analogy: considering a view of this world as a casket of both valuables and corpses. We may not prefer such an illustration, but it may be safe enough to assert that the idea of this world as a casket is still sensible and defensible. So then, what are we to do with this?
For one thing, we can take the time to reflect more deeply on this. For instance, if we disproportionately incline ourselves to hold the world only as a jewelry box then this may easily lead to a pattern of living in fantasy and wholesale adoption of illusions and falsehood. Yes, life can be dreamy and magical at times, but we still make a distinction between dreams and waking up to real, practical, consequential life.
On the other hand, if we disproportionately incline ourselves to hold the world only as a death-casket then this may easily lead to a rather sinister and deranged frame of living, smeared with a despicable set of lies and deceptions towards dismal hopelessness. Yes, life on earth can be undoubtedly miserable at times, but we still clearly maintain how there is birth and death (not solely death) as well as joy and sorrow (not solely sorrow).
Furthermore, we can act upon our reflections. For instance, knowing this world is both a jewelry box AND death-casket, we can treasure what and whom we value more soberly and sensibly, while wisely and duly preparing for the inevitable transition of those same valued entities towards the other side, the death-casket side. Regarding our actions, words, intentions, and plans, keeping in mind the analogy of this world as a (dual-sided) casket may helpfully inform, usefully temper and restrain, and beneficially impact them all.
This world is a casket. As it is, may your jewelry box be very, very full, and your death-casket be well respected and prepared for.
Much courage to us all
ABOUT THE AUTHOR--------------------------------------------------
Paul is the Bereavement Coordinator at Alacare Home Health & Hospice based in Birmingham, Alabama. He is married to Esther, and their children are Samantha, Christopher and Andrew. Paul studied mental health counseling and adult education, and has worked in the field of hospice for several years.