Beowulf on living

As a slight post script to my article regarding our tendancy to focus on living rather than eternity, Beowulf, that ever so famous poem, provides us with a fantastic passage about life and death.

Each of us must accept the end of life here in this world, so we must work while we can to earn fame before death.

Fame (a good reputation), honor, family worth; these are the things that ought to matter most to us instead of being obsessed with “the here-after.” Personally, I find the idea of “dying into the mound” to be very comforting. While there is a bit of metaphysical extrapolation required because of the lack of family burial sites and the fact that I favor cremation over burial, as my parents did, I believe all but the worst of us or the most glorious of us rejoin our kin in death. I look forward to feasting with them in Hel’s Hall (Snorri’s account of Hel is a rather limited one, all evidence considered) after my time on Midgard has ended. Until then, I plan to work hard and strive to live up to our ideals so that I can earn a high place among my ancestors.

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