We don’t like talking or thinking about it too much.
Sure we can watch it without flinching on a Netflix show. But when it comes close to home, everything changes.
It is the one thing guaranteed in life.
It doesn’t respect age, wealth or religion.
It doesn’t ask for permission or give a heads up.
It just comes, sometimes suddenly, other times slowly.
And it usually always leaves a wake of sadness, pain and shock.
Yes, we are all too familiar with the damage death can do.
But I want to help you see the good it can do as well.
Because death doesn’t just take away, it also gives.
Sitting around the bed of my Aunt last night comforting her as she passed, I couldn’t help but notice what was taking place in the room. It was strange, and although hard at times, it was good, it brought life.
So here are a few ways that I believe death can bring about life:
The death of a family or friend can bring people together in ways few other things can’t. Family is always family, but it doesn’t meant that family is always close. Sometimes the shared blood between you feels like the only thing that connects you. But death has a way of making what was once possibly a breach in relationship a now distant memory. Death has a way of throwing to the side disagreements and past hurts. It clears the air in a way that when family gets together, they can, and want to for that matter, care for and support one another deeply and genuinely. Death can breathe life into relationships and can even cause love to grow where it was weak and dim.
Death has a strange but powerful way of helping us slow down and reflect on what matters most in life. For lack of better terms, it slaps us in the face with reality, with our own mortality, with the sheer brevity of life, and in all of that - what is valuable and good and worthy rises up. It can shake the dust off our hearts and move us to care for things we should have but hardly did care for before. It has this unique way of highlighting regrets and untouched ambitions. When we see someone fading out of this life, all of the things we did wrong and could have done more of tend to float to the top. Although this doesn’t feel good at the moment, I believe it helps us maximize our days and our lives. It pushes us to say “I love you” more, to reconcile that relationship, to take that one risk, to spend more time with that one person, etc. Death can breathe life into what matters most and has the power to rearrange our priorities and empower our intentionality.
And arguably most importantly, death has a way making you think of what’s next in a new way. It’s easy to write off what may happen after death while your busy enjoying life, making memories and dealing with daily living - but when someone close to you is passing on, it does, at the least, make you wonder, question and hope. Thankfully, my Aunt knew and loved Jesus, and although she fought so strong to stay here, she fought with a peace that knew being with Jesus was not just imminent but better. But for those who aren’t as clear on what happens after life here, death can create a hunger and thirst to get to the bottom of it where there was no interest or care before. And I know that how you view death and what’s next directly and practically influences how you live everyday day here.
Death has an uncanny way of making you grip a little tighter onto life and the people around you. And for the person who trusts in Jesus as their hope for resurrection and life, death isn’t just the end of one thing but the beginning of something new; something infinitely more sweeter, more pleasant, more beautiful and more good.
Say hello to Jesus for me Aunt Julie, I know you have more joy than I can imagine and more peace than I’ve ever experienced - and I know that you would want everyone to know that peace and joy!