The Certainty of Death


Let your love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good. .”If your enemies are hungry feed them; if they are thirsty give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9, 20-21


“Life is not to be neat, tidy, well put together,

but an adventure to be lived wildly,

so that when we slide into home base at the end we will be saying, “What a ride! What a ride! E.W.Bartley, Jr.


“Seek the truth for yourself and I will meet  you there.”

    I remember a rainy Spring night in rural Missouri, on a gravel road, returning home with my “bro”, and his friend in the car. It was dark, and we slid, and the car turn over in the ditch, and as I dragged myself out of the car my “bro’s” bloody face came in view, his body crushed to death.

    That was the most transformational moment in my life. For in the months to come full blown depression would over take me, dreams of the accident haunted me. And in one dream, sitting with him, I said, “I am really sorry that you died,” and he said something like “Why do you care that I’m dead when you’re still afraid to live?” I woke up crying.

    I began to live, to in a manner of speaking “racing cars”, by throwing off the safety net of fitting in, and through being kicked out of the church, years on the street, and all that has followed since, death is the light by which the shadow of all of life’s meaning is measured.

    For me what matters is sharing the love of Jesus Christ knowing that there is no promise beyond the certainty of death, but that that love transcends all fear, and gives new life.

    Without death, everything would feel in consequential, all experience arbitrary, and all values zero.

    Today I had tests run seeing if I might have cancer, waiting the results I am shaky, but not afraid, for death is a reality;  new studies are showing that the virus forms in such away that it may be impossible in developing a vaccine; the infection rate is rising; and people are afraid, and in that fear acting out. Death is a certainty in all things. We need to face it.

    Ernest Becker tells us that the “terror of death” underlies everything that we do. We have “immortality projects” ie building cities, creating religions, etc, to keep us alive after death. We fight wars over these projects. Our immortality projects are our values, and when they fail so do we psychologically speaking.

    Rather than seek to project our self in these projects in lethal ways we should become comfortable with our own death, and choose values that are free, open to caring for each other and all of creation.

    Death is the only thing we can know with any certainty. And it is the compass by which we orient our values and decisions.

    The lesson I began  learning  that Spring night was that there is nothing to be afraid of. And through the years as I have come to the conclusion that the more I peer into the darkness, the brighter life gets, the quieter the world becomes, and the less unconscious resistance I feel toward to well, anything.

    And I have learned in walking with people to tell them, “Seek the truth for yourself and I will meet you there.” We all must make this journey alone, but it helps to have someone to walk with us. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Father River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

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