There was a line that Hazel (The fault in our stars) said right after Gus died.
I knew that time would now pass for me differently than it would for him –that I, like everyone in that room, would go on accumulating loves and losses while he would not.
That’s the sad reality about death.
Meantime, while the living continue to go about their usual days, hundreds remain buried under sea, and a couple hundred more just completely gone, vanished into thin air, no trace of their whereabouts whatsoever. Two tragedies. Two very unfortunate tragedies that took the lives of a little over five hundred people in just a span of one month.
I know, I know. People die everyday. How many people have been buried under the earth? Millions? Billions? No one can calculate. Death is part of life and is inevitable. But when it happens to such a big number of people all at once, it can overwhelm, like September 11 overwhelm. You do the math. 239 people from the Malaysian airlines tragedy and in between them maybe an approximate 200 people who knew each of them as friends and relatives, all grieving. And then we have the three hundred plus victims from the Sewol tragedy. Each victim with just as many friends and relatives as yours going through their private grief, unable to understand the senseless loss of the life of their friend, their daughter, their son, their teacher. So many grieving people! So much death, so much grief, so many losses. I imagine the world to be hurting, to be so wounded and grieving from the loss of these lives. We may just, in passing, read about them and catch them on the news, but these people walked the earth once, and to us who knew nothing about them, they are reduced to memories that will fade over time.
When we take time to consider the fragility of life –our priorities change. Is it about accumulating loves and losses, as Hazel put it? I don’t know. But I know that priorities shift, our outlooks widen, and whether we are old or young, we live life differently, as though it were always our last. We make everyday count, not for people to remember, because if everyone had gone and the world is no more, who would remember? We make every day count because God will remember.
I believe in heaven, in this glorious after life which is not a wishful thinking or a blind hope, but a reality bound by God’s promise and love: that he has prepared a place for us where we will forever be with him, no death, no pain or tears.
But in the meantime, we are here, tasting the pangs of death, the wounds of losing people, whether we knew them or not. The tragedies hurt me in a personal way because I am human, finite, will die one day. So we make every day count for the Lord. We love people, reach out to those whose hopes have worn thin or have nothing else to hope for.