“What pleasure in life remains without its share of sorrow? What glory stands on earth unchanged? All things are feebler than a shadow; all things, more deceptive than dreams. One instant, and death supplants them all.”
Excerpt from the first of the funerary hymns, composed by St. John of Damascus
I saw my shadow once while at a cemetery, and it reminded me of this, one of my favorite hymns.
The lived experience of the Church recommends a healthy remembrance of our own mortality (μνήμη θανάτου, memento mori), for it is the common and inescapable lot of us all. Another great Syrian saint, Isaac (7th c.), said: “This life is given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits.”