Looking Death In the Eye!

“Looking Death in the Eye!”

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Where. O death is now thy sting?..

But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”( I Corinthians 15:57-58).

For the past three years, I have looked death in the face often, but no more so than when sitting at Club Trinidad in Palm Springs, on my birthday in 2021, talking on snap chat to a fifteen-year-old in Texas.

Skip (not his name) blew his head off. I see the blood spattering all over the computer screen in my dreams from time to time.

I have realized that accepting death is not making a mountain out of a molehill. Death is real, it will come, calling us to walk with others, helping them to find hope in the midst of the chaos around us. Life is preparation for death, fear of death keeps us from living.

Paradise is not a place, but participation in our inheritance of the resurrection, it is here and now, and we are to make every moment count.

Through the past year and two months, I have learned that choosing joy in the midst of chaos gives us hope. I have learned the meaning of life is to  rejoice in the words of Jesus when he tells us: “I am the resurrection of life.” Let us rejoice in the resurrection.

Choosing joy in all things leads to a tenderness which leads to a transformation. Tenderness leads to loving with more vulnerability.

In trying each day, and it is hard as hell, to keep my mind where my body is, I can find joy at the moment, and be more tender.

It seems the closer I come to death, the closer I come to the poor and broken people on the street, and see that same brokenness in everyone. I find it my desire to be present to people, and the less I feel impelled to deal with the burning issues of our day.

My new tattoo, the butterfly, above is symbolic of the resurrection, and of a renewed commitment to keeping my eyes on the prize until the day death brings me into the presence of Jesus and I hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. Deo Gratis! Thanks be to God!


Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.,

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164




“God wants you to see things differently. He wants you to see all that you are capable of doing, being, and becoming. With this new sense of yourself, he wants you to live differently” (Matthew Kelley).

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