It's when Norton and Marla Singer run into each other at several support groups for various diseases neither of them actually has that this idea is presented. Norton goes to these groups because they are the only things that can help him cry and therefore help him sleep. Marla's reason is unknown, but Norton knows that seeing Marla's lie by also coming to these meetings with cancer patients exposes the lie he himself is caught in.
"Marla did NOT have testicular cancer," Norton says.
When he finally confronts her lie he states that Marla was not dying,
I know it wasn't the intention of this scene to do this, but I think recently I've found comfort in knowing that we are actually dying in the Tibetan philosophy, Sylvia Plath sense of the word." On one hand it's a little depressing thinking that we will all have 5-8 minutes less than we did after we finish reading this than before we started. On the other hand it seems that our mortality is a gift that keeps us humble and grounded in something otherworldly and eternal. Each second our body is decaying, our skin dying, our organs losing their strength, but it does not have to be despairing.
I started reading Safely Home by Randy Alcorn today (thanks Carol for lending it to me!) and was really moved by one character "Ben," who is the VP of a big microchip company. He apparently was a committed follower of Jesus in college at Harvard, leading his Chinese roommate to Christ while there. But now, he is successful in business, and divorced, lonely, alienating even to his cousins and family.
Every Monday morning he reads a list of goals he compiled while at a convention 6 years ago. The first was to integrate his business' assets into the Chinese market and infrastructure. The 2nd was to be President by the time he was 48. Within reach. The 3rd was to accumulate enough wealth to do anything and go anywhere he wanted.
I really hope I never lose sight of what God is doing in me and showing me in my 20's. I hope that remembering we are all slowly, but surely dying will keep me from making professional or ministry goals the Lord of my life.
It's a sad existence to leave