In Fighting Death, We Miss Out on Life

April 5, 2024

When I was in high school, I watched a movie, "The SeventhSeal," directed by Ingmar Bergman. In the movie, a crusader returning from the Crusades, fighting for Jesus, is visited by the angel of death to take him to the afterlife. He challenges the angel to a game of chess: if he wins, he lives; if he loses, the angel takes him. As the movie progresses, they play chess intermittently, with the crusader fighting death.

In the same movie, there is a clown who lives in a simple hut with his wife and child. While the crusader fights death, the clown is raising his child, living in poverty but enjoying life. In the end, the angel of death takes the crusader to the afterlife, while the clown and his family play on a lawn.

After watching the movie, a teacher asked us, "Who did we identify with?" I raised my hand and said I identified with the crusader, to fight for something I believe in. The teacher looked at me and, after a moment of silence, said, "It shows you're still young."

Apparently, I never aged.

I spent all my life fighting death, trying to contribute something to the world and leave a legacy so I do not die. It's time to grow up. I should identify with the clown and enjoy life. Enjoy my family, my wife, my children. Laugh more, fight less. Do not fight death and, in doing so, miss out on life. Oh God, why do we get old so fast and wise so slow?

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes