My cheerful topic of discussion in class yesterday was Death. What is it? Why do we avoid it?
I’m starting to think the curriculum was designed to hit close to home for me since I’ve lost some people recently and been pondering the subject of death. As I wrote about in my last post I am a fan of Resurrection.
However if we go by what my classmates seemed to think, it doesn’t look like most people see much sense it the idea of resurrection. Many people embrace the idea that death is the end, and we should just accept that.
Everywhere from real deaths to fictional ones, I find this. Some folks are still holding out for their favorite character to come back to life, the soul crushing response by some other fans? “They’re dead and gone, deal with it.”
Seriously, is that really the most sensitive thing to say? Don’t stomp on my hopes.
Characters dying never bothered me too much as a kid, usually they were the evil characters. Of course I didn’t like Obi Wan Ken-obi, but then he comes back. And it’s sad in other stories too. Not a lot of examples come to mind. There’s Beth from Little Women, but I stayed away from sad books as a kid.
As for real life, I’ve only known four people who’ve died. Known them well. I remember my first brush with losing someone was a nice woman at my church who died. I didn’t know her very well, I just remember her always smiling at me. My mom told me she went to heaven. I believed it, and I still do, so I wasn’t bothered.
However since then the people I’ve lost have all been ambiguous at best, I’m not sure if they went to heaven. A few I really doubt.
It’s the worst part of being a christian, having to believe that not everyone gets to live happily ever after, and worse, that they could have if they’d opened their hearts. Rejecting God is a choice.
Yet Death is one of the things that makes it hardest to accept God. Especially a loving God. Though we all intellectually know death happens and the world goes on, when it happens to us it’s still a fresh shock. We are suddenly unsure f ourselves, and that makes us unsure of what we believe. This doesn’t happen to everyone. Some people handle death with peace. But they are the exception, not the rule. Most of us are left feeling uncertain. Some never recover from that, most of us do, but we never feel the same.
That’s not to say we are the worse for it. Death, like other ills, is a matter of how you handle it. It can make you stronger or weaker.
In my class my teacher brought up the idea found in some poetry on the subject, that love ends with death. There is no love between the dead and us. We love them, but it’s not a living, growing thing.
I’m not sure that’s true. Many people continued to feel connected to their dead family or friends. I don’t really myself, except at certain moments. The interesting thing about love is that it preserves your memory and therefore a little bit of yourself. When you’re gone, you’re not entirely, if someone loves you. A part of you, not your own consciousness, but your memory, stays with them.
It’s something science hasn’t been able to explain. Loving our lost ones is not biologically helpful to most people. yet we still do.
I am not sure that the dead no longer love. I believe that those who go to heaven love even more, but from afar. We can’t hang onto them, because they have no need of us anymore.
Most of grief isn’t really coming to terms with the dead, but with yourself. Asking how you can deal with this, how you can go on. Some decide hey can’t, but that’s not the right choice.
I think because we’ve removed the comfort of religion and core values, death has become too much for many people. Now they have nothing to make it seem less terrible.
And the answer most come to is “We don’t know.”
There is no faith in saying “I don’t know.”
I’ll admit, I don’t know what happens to every person everywhere who dies. OR even to the ones I know. That’s my uncertainty, and that’s my grief. Not knowing.
But what I do know that I know that I know, is that Jesus is real. And that he is love. And though God does things I don’t understand, there’s a reason He holds the keys to life and death. I know that I’m alive now in a way I never was before knowing Him. I know that He changes lives. I know that He enables people to die with courage.
You might wonder, why does God let people die at all if He really conquered death? The Bible says in 1 Corinthians that Death will be the last enemy to be overthrown at the end of time. Why is this?
A couple of reasons might present themselves. If we never died our bodies would be pretty useless. At old age, death is a mercy if you will be transformed.
More than that, if death was overthrown now, all the evil people in the world would never die either. Can you imagine that?
Even more than that, God wants us to trust Him with our lives. It’s what sets us apart form nonbelievers. If we didn’t die, there would be no need of trusting Him.
We are promised the fruit of the tree of life when the new heaven and new earth are made. We will be eternal then, in fact we already are, in our spirits.
That sounds nutty to many people. The things of God are foolishness to the world. What else would you expect?
My conclusion: Either I believe the Bible, or I believe nothing…and that doesn’t seem to work out too well.
Until next time–Natasha.