“I don’t want to die..”
There’s so much death, everywhere. I see so much death and I feel like my heart will collapse upon itself. A truck ran over a squirrel this morning; somewhere, a young boy died last night; somewhere, a tree was uprooted some minutes ago, and tonight, a squab will try to grasp its breath one last time.
7,000,000,000+ human beings inhabit the earth today but; 55,300,000 people die every year, 151,600 individuals die every day, 6,316 persons are taken every hour, 105 mortals perish every minute, and almost 2 people kick the bucket every second — and that’s just statistically speaking. Consider the eternal impact on all the others connected to those who perish – those who die in spirit because a loved one has passed. I’m sure that would blow the statistical figures out of the ballpark.
Why should something so terrible, something that causes so much pain, happen so frequently? Why should something be in the first place when after a time, it will cease to exist? Why should a boy of seven have to watch his mother struggle to live in spite of a mortal wound? Why should an 11 year old girl who loved her father immensely, have to watch his body get torn apart in an explosion – a scene orchestrated by the madcap Boko Haram group. I don’t understand it.
The subject of death has caused us to push our imagination to the extreme. Death is one topic that drives philosophers, theologians, atheists, religious folk, children, and basically every human being, on that eternal treasure hunt. Driving them to find answers to a question they might not even have the strength to ask. Death is what compels a man to squander all his resources in the pleasure of a moment; and what motivates another to toil unremittingly to secure a future he has no knowledge of. Consciously or subconsciously, death drives us all in some way. And what I believe feeds this thirst/drive more, is the fear. We do not understand death, we cannot explain death, and so it’s only natural that we fear it.
A friend once asked me what I felt about death. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I know it ran along these lines:
I’m glad I haven’t lost any loved ones, and honestly, I don’t know what I would do if… if they ‘left’. I think about death a lot, and sometimes, it helps to keep things in perspective. As a child, I remember a morning when I thought of death so much, I felt (heard) grains of sand shouting, taunting, that I would soon be one of them. There was a time I thought I knew everything, and soon after, I realized that I didn’t know much at all. Now, after all I’ve read and seen, I admit that I don’t know anything. After all that thinking, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really don’t know what death is. What I do think is true however, is that without death, there would be no life; without pain, there would be no relief, and without uncertainty, there would be no adventure.
The title of this post is ‘Yafeh Me’eer’ which is Hebrew for ‘Beautiful Shining Light’. Some people say when you die, there’s a light at the end of a tunnel, and that it is extremely beautiful. Other people say a bright white light blinds you. A few others say a hand reaches out from a light to hold and welcome you. I don’t know if these are true, but I know that the idea of a life-giving light, blotting out the darkness and gloom of death, is comforting.
“…For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them… The hour of departure has arrived and we go our ways; I to die, and you to live. Which is better? Only God knows.” – Socrates.
“For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.” – William Penn
This post is dedicated to Sarah Burke, the Canadian four-time Winter X-games champion, who passed away on the 19th of January, 2012; and to all the victims of the tyranny, politics and religious extremism in Nigeria. I want to scream that it is unfair, but then, they’ve reminded me that I have air in my lungs. Whatever their ends may be, I hope and pray that it is peaceful.