Life and death..!

It was a strange situation I went through this Sunday morning: Life and death together! Being Sunday I’d got ready to go to church, wore my new shirt and nicely pressed pants and was walking down the stairs when through the staircase grill I saw a huge crowd had collected downstairs. My wife and I stopped and realized our neighbor, an old man had died and they were just going to take his body to the crematorium.
We waited while the body was brought out and walked towards it and paid our last respects to a man I had known quite well.
I watched the hearse drive away followed by the cars containing his three daughters, who had decided to go to the funeral. We walked on and as we did, I reflected on the sadness of death and the sorrow of a painful parting, especially daughters and his wife, grieving for the man of the house.
When I entered the church, I realized a naming ceremony was going on. The priest was holding the new born baby and blessing him with a name. The proud mother and father were standing nearby, the baby quite happy in the priest’s hands. I sang with the rest of the people as we blessed the baby and wished him a life, walking with God. As we walked from the church, back home, I realized it had been a strange morning. A morning when I had witnessed the end of life and the beginning of life! A new thought came to me.
Was the man who died prepared for death? The baby who had just been given a name had his whole life ahead of him, challenges and opportunities, successes and failures, ups and downs, disappointments and joys. But at the end of his life, when he, like my neighbor was being carried away on the shoulders of others, would he be ready to die?
Death is as certain as birth, yet we all live as if we will never die. If we knew we would die tomorrow, would we have petty fights with a neighbor? Disputes with a family member over some property issue? Would we be troubled by all the small things we worry about? The man I saw being taken dead out of his house couldn’t take even a single paisa of what he had earned in his lifetime with him! I wondered whether we could tell the newborn baby just that: Live, so that even if you die tomorrow, you will go prepared! Are you prepared to being carried out of your home on a bier? Are you at peace with the thought of death?
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