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Death is So Cruel

Death is so cruel,
There is still happiness, yet there is so much pain
How hard it is to accept the person that no longer lives
Why has God made an ending destiny for us all, as he himself
created us
Death is so cruel 

Johan Yanos[1]

I am going to die.

I do not yet have the date of my demise, but I have more years in my past than I have in my future. The unsettling fact is that we all will die – some sooner than others.

We do not like to think of death, but death is the ever present companion of life. It is all around us. For example, thus far in the month of August:

  • My Father died this week…six years ago
  • Nearly 50 people were murdered in gang violence in Cape Town over the payday weekend
  • At least 31 people died in mass shootings in the United States this past weekend
  • Mark Antony, Roman Politician and General died at the beginning of August, in 30 BC

All these deaths – but each impacting me in a different way.

I feel my father’s death personally, missing having someone to share my thoughts and dreams with. I grieve the gang-related murders of Cape Town, and the hate-filled shootings in the USA, but this is not personal pain. And I observe the death of Mark Antony and the way this changed the course of Roman history, but this is interest untouched by personal emotion.

It is easy for death to be visible, but not to touch us. I am pleading for us to recover the ancient practice of lament. This is the language of the Biblical Psalmists, the community poets and song-writers, the African griots and the  Irish caoineadh.  Let us weep, groan, sigh, wail, moan, and clatter for the pain of those who die.

Then let harness this pain to honour those who have lived – and are now gone – by treasuring life.

Every. Single. Life.

We can respect this fragile gift of life

  • by choosing to see the best in the people we meet, rather than offering insult and denigration.
  • by living our own lives in service of humanity and of God, rather than the selfish pursuit of our own gratification.

So I am going to die. But this knowledge drives me to live the remainder of my life with passion and respect for this wonderful gift of God.

[1] https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/death-is-so-cruel/


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“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)