life or death?

i was recently away at fifth grade camp
with nic and 60 other fifth graders.

we were on a tour at northwest trek
and i was struck by the contrast of these dying stumps
in an open field with the back ground of lively woods.

i have no idea why they are like that.
but i love the image.
and because i can't help but think of my life in analogy form
i immediately thought about
how often i choose to live in a very dull, death oriented way
like choosing activities to avoid and escape my life
and choosing to complain about every little this and that.
 or choosing to live in a self oriented way.
consumed with my pleasure, my wealth, my happiness.
and pushing against those people and things that get in my way.
 this isn't life.
and honestly, when i live moments or days like that,
i can feel empty.

the very thing i'm longing for
-some sort of peace-
escapes me.
but when i have these other moments 
when i am able to rise above
this sort of death living,
i sense true
settling into my soul.

when i choose to spend my life not on escape
or on self
(which happens less than i'd truly like)
when i choose to instead serve others
especially THE other,
i am acknowledging
my life is not my own.
it has been given as a gift
by the one who made
the trees,
the stumps,
the fields
and me.

he promises to give us life that is truly life.