Found out about a friend’s husband’s passing two days ago. Apparently the illness was only discovered a couple of months ago, but it was already at a very late stage. So little time to prepare, so little time to mull over things undone, perhaps many things yet unsaid. She is brave and strong and I hope that she finds peace to replace the grief and loss…
Just finished reading the book Lament for a son. In fact, I had actually skimmed over A grief observed by C. S. Lewis a while back and was looking for similar accounts of people living through a loss of some form. I guess, after seeing my pet bunny die a week ago, I was simply looking for some insights on how to deal with the situation. Even though he had only been with me for less than 6 months, my heart ached seeing him take his last breaths in my arms…
Lament for a son was written by a father who had lost his son in a mountain-climbing accident; he was only 25 at the time. This book contained thoughts as the father tried to deal with his internal turmoil, trying the best he could to resolve the apparent contradictions between his faith and the pain of losing his son before his life had started properly. Why does God allow such suffering? All the things left undone, unsaid. Reading the words, one cannot help but feel the anguish and pain of a father, but, towards the end, also hopes of a new beginning.
While reading, I was intrigued that the author, a devout Christian, essentially came to a similar conclusion as what many budhists take for granted*.
“We are one in suffering. Some are wealthy, some bright; some athletic, some admire. But we all suffer. For we all prize and love… Suffering is for the loving. If I hadn’t loved him, there wouldn’t be this agony.
…In commanding us to love, God invites us to suffer.”
Perhaps, it is only though deaths (or similar tragic/traumatic incidents) will we have our faiths challenged, and maybe transcend ourselves – otherwise, as the author put it, the death was all for “nothing”.
* Although Christianity and Budhism diverge in how they treat this conclusion. Budha talked about escaping from the endless cycle of suffering…
I used to think (and still do) that it was a cop-out statement when a Christian friend told me that instead of putting our faith in people, because it inevitably led to disappointment, we should put our faith in God. I mean, who else do we have apart from the people around us?
However, for me, the caveat is that the trust needs to be earned. Nevertheless, most importantly I think it’s necessary to back yourself in your own convictions, rather than depending on opinions or assistance from others. After all, you alone have the most stake in how you turn out, no?
Seems to me that many (if not all) religions* give comfort and hope to people for what happens “after”. However, are all of them equally active in doing some good now, in this world we live in? I salute those people who give selflessly to improve the lives of fellow human beings who may or may not have the same beliefs.
* Including notorious cults.
On the way home yesterday, happened to see the following words high up on one of the buildings in a Methodist secondary school:
“The fear of the lord is the beginning of knowledge.”
I find this very puzzling indeed! Can someone please explain the meaning of this to me?
I mean, where would knowledge come from if we were cowering under the “might of God”? I really believe, if anything, our sense of morality should be a derivative of fear. While governmental laws are a necessary evil we may not live without, the ultimate sense of right from wrong, be it of religious or philosophical origins, should be liberating, not shackles arising from fear…