I start my prayers with the familiar opening –
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be – world without end – Amen.
This is often almost an automatic, unthinking recital, but this time I stopped at the final phrase – world without end. What does that actually mean? I had always assumed it implied a cosmic scale, that the universe was, and is, everlasting – on this occasion it struck me that it also refers to my own existence, that my world, my life, is “without end”. Do I believe that? Do I want to believe it?
People do want to stay alive,, and it is only in desperation, or mental sickness, that anyone considers taking their own life. I have occasionally thought of it, but never taken any practical steps towards suicide. On the other hand, I have often felt that an end to life would be a great release – not that it would lead to something better, but that it would simply put an end to an existence that I often find burdensome.