Mortality, morbidity

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot, …”

– ‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3‬:‭1-2‬ (NIV)

As the Bible verse above clearly states, it’s more or less inevitable that we will experience different seasons as we walk through life.

Some seasons will last longer than others. Most will keep recurring, while some may be so brief that we’ll wonder if we had ever experienced them at all.

Well, the truth is that we don’t really have much of a say about any of these seasons or even when they will take place.

It’s pretty much all in God’s hands and the most we can do is basically trust that He knows what’s best for us and will take care of us. And then we just literally have to weather whatever sunshine, storms or cloudy days come our way.

Among that long list of seasons in life are the seasons of life and death.

In fact, if you were to think about it, you’d realise that both these seasons are happening just about all the time, often times even occurring concurrently.

(So, perhaps in some ways they aren’t even worthy of being called seasons. Assuming that our definition of a “season” refers to incidents that occurs infrequently and over a limited time period, that is. But I digress…)

Life and death are at complete ends of the spectrum, and they set in motion a very contrasting set of emotions and actions. Rejoicing marks the occurrence of one, while mourning is evoked in the other.

Together, they mark the boundaries of our lifespan, dictating the beginning and the end of our days. They determine our date of arrival in heaven or hell (depending on the choices we make in life), and outline for us the significance of our days, or lack thereof.

On my mind tonight are thoughts about death in particular. I wonder at the finality that it brings to our existence.

I’ve also noticed, with each passing year, that there is a specific time period annually where more people tend to die than at other times. It’s almost as if the angel of death is about to have his appraisal and decided to work overtime in order to polish up his performance records.

Of course, you might think I’m just being melodramatic or superstitious or something to that effect, but maybe you could make your own observations and see whether what I have said is true or otherwise.

Anyway, from what I’ve noticed, this season tends to occur some time around the second or third quarter of the year. Usually, I think it comes around the months of August or September, coinciding most times with the Hungry Ghost Festival which the Chinese are so fond of observing.

To be clear, as a Christian, I don’t subscribe to the beliefs surrounding that festival, but nevertheless I feel that it’s undeniable that there is a period each year during which the number of deaths just seems to spike out of the blue.

So it’s clearly a season.

This year, this season of death appears to have started early because I’ve been hearing of quite a few of such incidents lately. Among them are people I know personally, although some are just the stuff that we’ve all been hearing about in the news.

Anyhow, it’s obvious that it’s that time of the year again.

I hate this season. I dread whenever it comes around, because each time it does, I wonder whether it will strike someone in my own family, or anyone at all whom I know or am connected to in one way or another. It’s scary.
But then again, it isn’t exactly fear that is gripping me.

It’s more of a looming sense of gloom; the helplessness that comes from knowing something’s out there, yet being unable to control it or make sense of it.

Sometimes I wonder (as I’m sure you may have at some point as well) why God allows death. If everything is indeed within His control, then why not just get rid of death once and for all and refashion the world without the flaws it now has and allow us to experience eternal life here and now?

Well, I’m aware there’s probably a logical, spiritually sound explanation to answer that question, but that’s not really what I’m concerned about when I say this.

I’m just voicing my frustration for the fact that God does not spare us from this excruciating experience.

Yes, I know, we certainly do learn valuable things from experiencing death. I believe many of us learn to define what our lives should really be about whenever we come into contact with death. I guess you could say it reminds us how to live.

But as a whole, it’s just such a sad, hollow experience.

Our faith in eternity and in a God that cares and holds all things together keeps us from falling apart, of course, yet I cannot help but wonder why this is all necessary.

I guess I’m just a little melancholic because I heard news of the passing of a person whom I knew from my childhood. It’s always a strange feeling when you look back and ponder what that person’s life came to in the end.

For example, did they really accomplish all that God had wanted them to? And if they didn’t, what was the point of their entire life?

Also, this puzzling mystery: Why does God seems to favour cutting short the lives of good people? Is it because they have already learned all the lessons from life that was necessary, hence it was time to graduate from the school of hard knocks and enter heaven?

Now, that’s a lot of thoughts I’ve put across in one post. I think I shall end off here. Hopefully I’ll be more cheery by my next post.

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