For two months I have been working in an ICU at a local hospital and to say that it has challenged and grown me would be a vast understatement. All my life I have wanted to be a doctor and help people. But the more I am exposed to healthcare the more I understand how frustratingly impossible my mission is.
I heard a doctor-friend of mine once put bluntly:
Life is an STD with a 100% mortality rate
I’m not trying to be morbid, I see no purpose in that. I have just seen so much death in this season of my life that I need to rethink the way I approach it. I can’t simply turn my mind off and ignore the hurt and pain all around me. And I can’t curl up in the fetal position and cry about it either. Which leaves me with questions… ever more questions.
How do I deal with it in my mind? How do I help the dying one to approach it? How do I comfort the family? How do I celebrate their life and mourn their passing? Should I run from it? or embrace it? How am I doing to pass from this life to the next when my time comes? Will I run from it in fear or walk towards it with an unworldly confidence?
…To which I don’t have the answers.
I do, however, have shmorgishborg of different quotes, verses, and thoughts. My hope is that by pondering them, you would gain a better understanding of this thing we call death and that you would share that insight with me.
“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.” -The Preacher (Ecclesiastes 7:2)
“Every man dies, not every man really lives.” -William Wallace
“A belief in hell and the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton have never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumor.” -Aldous Huxley
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” -Mark Twain
“There is nothing natural about death. Although it is the most sure thing in the universe, it is not the original design of God. That is why it is so hard for us to wrap our minds around it. We were not created with a framework to deal with the concept of death. That’s why we avoid it, hide it away in hospitals and nursing homes, and live our daily lives ignoring it’s very existence.” -Me
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” -Jesus (John 14:1-3)
“For dust you are and to dust you will return.” -God (Genesis 3:19)
“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” -Lemony Snicket
“He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.” -Isaiah 25:8
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” – 1 Corinthians 15:55
“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis
Please, share any insight you have on this matter. My hope is that this post would not depress you in the least, but that it would snap the lens through which we live life into sharp focus. Allowing us to live this life more fully and expect the next one with greater joy and anticipation.