I had thought that I would write in the final hours of the year that had just gone by – 2014 – but I did not. The thought of one young man who had died an unnatural death came to my mind. I had heard about it recently from someone who had been present at the scene, and it had stuck in my mind. Such a young life. This had happened way back in 1999. So, I gave up the thought of further reflection. It seemed so sad, so futile. A young man of 18 got killed in an accident and no one could provide any clues. He just died from the injuries he sustained. His family wept. They could not understand the reasons.
Life is tough. Life is difficult.
A friend Djoni whom I had met years ago and shared time in writing sessions way back in 2009 had responded to my email. I had found something he had sent while doing some housekeeping and so I thought I would send him a note. He was surprised that I still remembered him.
There are some people we don’t forget, and certainly not this young man. He was one of the few that I had met again and again simply because we worship at the same church. Before our writing workshop I had not known him but once we learnt that we were from the same parish, things changed. He seemed to be popping up everywhere, and that only stopped when he left the country.
In the latest note I received I thought it seemed apt to share. His permission was sought, of course, and so I shall use what I find relevant to my thoughts now. So here goes: Last few hours of 2014 . . . I just got back from my parish church for the year-end Mass. There was sadness in the air as we had lost 7 of our parishioners in the AirAsia accident, including a family of four whose daughter had been a good friend to my nephew, Stephen. In total there were 30 people from my little hometown onboard the ill-fated flight. Suddenly, once again, I am reminded of the fragility of life…
How does one cope with death? Death that comes like a thief in the night. No warning whatsoever. Not when one is flying in the air. I have experienced some air turbulence on some flights and all I would normally do was to pray. I never once thought that I would not survive the flight. What then must have been the thoughts of those who perished in the recent flight? Debris has been found. The newspapers continue to give updates…………
Thirty deaths. What does one do in the face of such a tragedy? And what happens when It is not one death but more than a hundred? Whether it is one life or thirty lives, we are saddened. We weep. We do not know what to say, do we?
It is so important to be ready for the final moments. We may never know. We may never expect it. But we are called to be vigilant. We are reminded again and again of the fragility of life. Can we take it to heart this message? Can we bear in mind that our lives are not ours to dictate? We know not the hour. We know not the day but we do know that it will come. Death is inevitable.
The Good News is that we who believe and have faith know that when death comes, life does not end. It is simply changed. Dead or alive, we belong to God. To all who are preparing daily for that final Home coming and longing to hear the words of welcome, may God be praised!
Come blessed of my Father, come into the Kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.