For a very long time I did not care very much about my life. It seemed like such a drag, buckling under the heavy weight of work and routine. A death wish was more acute at times, at other times it subsided, but never entirely for good. I am with not Peter, but Paul on this issue: To live is Christ, to die is gain. No doubt in my mind about death being somewhat leading to a superior place to here.
There are so many verses that speak of the human condition being arduous. For in this life you will have trials and tribulations, but fear not, for I have overcome the world. We are ambassadors of Christ, the creation groans as in childbirth awaiting the Saviour. Job, when experiencing suffering, calls out it would have been better for him to have not been born, and Solomon, too, exclaims that best off is he who never sees the light of day.
Pretty bleak, right? I do not disqualify niceties of this life, by no means. Especially the fact that we can behold our Saviour, something even the angels marvel at yet never quite understand. This life surely holds beauty and truth, yet also so much suffering. I watched a show on the tsunami yesterday captured by those who were themselves victims of it in one way or another. This life always holds death in close proximity, only some get to have a crystal clear impression of that fact whilst others get to be lulled in by sufficient distractions to not notice.
Lana del Rey sings that you and I, we were born to die. What I had to realize was not the fact that I would die, but that I had to do quite a bit of living before. To me, dying is the easy part. I know, there are horrific deaths, and I do not intend to belittle those falling victim to terror and heart ache. Probably I see this quite differently in the face of death. Let me tell you a little story: My Grandma had been in a coma like state for over a week. She refused to eat, and had no longer communicated with anyone. Previously, she had particularly asked to not be force fed if such a situation would ever arise.
There she was, breathing heavily, her stink was terrifying as she had not eaten in days. Her mouth was so dry. I opened the Bible, and it was at Revelation, speaking of the rivers that flow through heaven. At first I was pretty reluctant to read this to her, it seemed to laugh in the face of her state. Yet I kept at it, and her breath became calmer. Eventually, she stopped. I was livid! Running out to my dad I screamed! “Dad, Dad! She died!” My Dad is a Pastor, I thought he would know what to do now.
He came into the room, and shortly after she began breathing again. I was still very upset. A few days later she died. I was told it whilst out shopping, and I was so joyful! I really know that she is in a better place now. Life had been so hard on her. Her husband had been taken to prison at night leaving her to fend for herself. Later he came back a broken man, only to cheat on her a few years later. Her kids pretty much abandoned her, and, eventually, I would turn my back on her, too. There was not much left of her when we buried her.
Yesterday I heard about what William Booth of the Salvation Army encouraged his co-workers to focus on. The annual letter, after many years, grew shorter and shorter. At the end it only contained one word: Others! I guess learning to live for me meant to take my eyes off myself and place them on Jesus. Yep, not others, but Him. For He will direct my path to walk through the valley of death that I am in, this valley of pain and injustice and hurts and brokenness. I can act as a co-worker in bringing resurrection to this broken state by being forgiving and loving. That is the meaning of life right there. Just in case someone asks.