• Joseph

Death…Catching Up

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that this is the time of the year to meditate on what we have been doing with our lives amidst the plague of death that senior citizens and those in the fringes of society smell every day. It’s not as if we’re waiting for death to take its toll on others before we go on pondering about our own mortality. Certainly, this must be a daily thingy.

Wherever, however, whichever way we put it, LIFE and DEATH are strange bedfellows forever. These two always epitomize the gains and struggles of humans. Meaning, they’re inseparable. Where one goes, the other follows. In hindsight, if you have a birth day, you must surely have a death day. Even the “Son of God” went through this twin fate—if you’d simply look at it that way. In jest, life and death are more or less like man and woman; Yin and Yang; Fast and Furious; Beauty and the Beast; Lebron and AD (or Kawhi and PG) going to the much more illogical twosomes that you can ever possibly think of.

Well, some of us may be wondering why on Earth are we still here when others, who are very much younger and/or gifted with more verve and grandiose potentials just ripe for the magnificent pickings of a lifetime, did not live to see the light of day the next morning or so for some ugly reasons that only journalists can describe and/or realistic causes that old age and weak immune system bring into view. Too bad, they didn’t make it.

In the book, “Unbelievable! The Bizarre World of Coincidences” by Jenny Crompton, people really have a thousand and one weird ways of saying goodbye to this temporal domain. Here are some out-of-this-world but true-to-life stories that will blow your mind.

· The year was 1965 and this 14 year old boy happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as a car smashed through poor David Whisler upon crossing the Big Lagoon Bridge in Eureka, California. In 1959, Whisler’s grandfather, Hiram Besinger got crumpled by a truck and it was in 1957 when his great-grandfather Richard Besinger became a casualty of a car accident. Would you believe it if I told you that all of these tragedies occurred on the same bridge?

· The political lives and assassinations of former US presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were like TV soap operas with mirror character images. Lincoln, who became a Congressman in 1846 and a president in 1860, was slain in Ford’s Theater. On the other hand, JFK, who won a Congressional seat in 1946 and triumphed in the presidential election of 1960, was shot inside a Ford Lincoln (automobile). The two of them were murdered with a bullet on the head—exactly on a Friday—with their wives beside them.

· So much for identical deaths…Now, get a load of identical twins dying on the same day almost simultaneously. In 2002, 70-year-old identical twin brothers from Finland expired “within hours of one another” in distinct mishaps but “on the same road” adjacent to a town called Raahe at the northern portion of Helsinki. Similarly, identical twins John and William Bloomfield were struck by killer heart attacks “within minutes of each other” while enjoying a body-building competition at a nightclub in Perth, Australia.

Regardless of peculiarity and statistics, I could’ve traded places with them if need be. If only the world works this way—the way we would’ve wanted it to be. But, it doesn’t. Now, we’re the ones left behind. If we’re having the coolest of lives, our prayer would’ve been, “God, why did you take away my father/ mother/ sister/ brother/ grandfather/ grandmother/ wife/ husband/ son/ daughter/ girlfriend/ boyfriend/ best friend in this most inopportune time? You’ve provided consecutive blessings but you took away the best gift of them all. Why now, Lord?” However, in times of suffering, we say, “Lord, I’d like to believe that my (loved one) is in a better place (than this dump or screwed life that we’re living (in) right now).” Pardon those excess lines but reality judiciously bites. As a matter of fact, it bites with gnashing teeth.

On the second thought, how we take (life and) death all depends on what’s inside our mind. Inasmuch as I want to figure out the exact rationale behind this dynamic duo, you’ll be exhausting all your brain cells and end up with the conclusion that science stops where faith begins. Science is capable of elucidating all aspects about health-related matters (the so-called mind and body connection) that lead to longer life or shortened existence. Though I heard some old guy still remains strong in his 70’s despite being a smoker since 12 years old, exact figures will attest that this man is one of the exceptions who unwittingly got away from the rule. (If you smoke at a young age, you die young.) I just couldn’t accept the science that some babies die even without being born yet because their mothers didn’t take care of themselves well or a suddenly identified genetic disorder sprouted from nowhere. Nevertheless, medical doctors would explicate that these cellular circumstances may have been instantaneously unravelling as we speak. So, if medical science already knows about this, why can’t these untimely deaths be prevented from happening again? Or, is it God’s Will that these babies were meant to last for only a few months, weeks or seconds in their mother’s womb eventually leaving this realm even without taking (in) a single breath of oxygen? If that’s the case, I wouldn’t understand what’s going on in life until I probably die. They say that everything must have a scientific explanation. True…but not yet. Unless this systematic discipline looks beyond the celestial horizon and accepts the unaccepted in its dominion of intelligence, scientific enlightenment will never be complete.

On the other side of the fence, the God that is injected by religion in our consciousness is traditionally dismissed by geniuses because the accounts are technically inconsistent to say the least. Imagine, old school Christians bringing the holy Arc of the Covenant to war. What for? So, they could be blessed (by God) to kill? Why? They’d reason out that warriors were born to bring death—a simple case of living to kill or be killed. All those show of religiosity in the battlefield is crazy. But, come to think of it, killing has been prevalent not only in combat zones but even in the halls of justice when innocent people like Jesus Christ gets crucified for allegedly instigating rebellion against the hypocrisy of priesthood during His time. This is perhaps one solid event of spiritual contradiction that God would be in favor of establishing churches with priests around the world when this very institution provoked the death of the “Son of Man.” Mind you, this idea comes from a regular churchgoer who puts priests in a pedestal thinking that they are living disciples of God whereas history and present news show that humans as they all are, they commit sins, too. Totally aware of this and always in agreement with the Philippine president in his tirades against the Catholic Church, I can only say that my mind must be playing tricks on me for being as fickle-minded as I am now.

Before I lose my sense of sanity, let’s just move back to the main point of life and death. At best, I should emphasize here that people are bound to live and die. We live to die. Living is dying and dying is living if you seek the divinity in/from all of this confusion. Therefore, you better be ready to live today and die tomorrow. As cliché as it sounds, live life to the fullest like it’s your last day on Earth. Don’t tell me you’d still want to ask, “What would Jesus do?” Remember, He’s done dying. We? We’re going there but before death catches up with us, let’s live life with a capital L.

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