By Anthony Saude
Just a short while ago I was talking with my wife about my relationship with death. I told her I either have a very healthy one or it is totally dysfunctional. At my age most people have had a fair amount of death and sadness in their lives and I am no different. Even when I was young I always had a delayed reaction to death. When everybody else was crying and sadness would overtake them I was almost indifferent to it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t cry at all. I just cried a lot less and, usually, not until I was at the gravesite and the coffin was being lowered into the ground.
For years I thought there was something wrong with me. I carried around a lot of guilt and shame because of it. The age of the person always had a direct correlation with the amount of sadness I felt. To me an older person had their time and we shouldn’t be sad about their death but instead we should be happy about the time we had with them. It just sounds logical to me.
The death of a younger person would make me sadder but I was always able to focus on the good times rather than the days ahead when I would be without them. So is my view of death healthy or unhealthy? I honestly still do not know. One of the positive aspects of my viewpoint is that it allows me to be there for my loved ones during their time of sadness. However, some of those same loved ones have seen it as a little cold and even uncaring.
This world is full of pain, sadness, mean people, judgment and a whole lot of stuff that not everybody is equipped to deal with. Have I been desensitized by the cruelty of the world? Addiction to drugs and alcohol is rising at the same rate as counseling and education in the mental health industry. Suicide is at an all time high, bullying is an actual thing and the list of sadness goes on and on. I personally spent most of my life forming an identity out of self medicating with drugs, alcohol and women.
Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. Death is sad. Especially if it is self-inflicted. But it can also be a gift. I mean what could be better than hanging out with Jesus every day for eternity? I think to myself about those people that just get dealt a tough hand in life. The physically or sexually abused children or the marginalized people of the world. We all know somebody or have heard about somebody that has lived a life of pain and sadness through no fault of their own. Jesus tells us that there will be no pain, no tears, and no sadness when we go to be with him. That is a gift that, for some, has been impossible to pass up and that is very sad. Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying. I love life because it is also a gift from God. To me, when I leave this world I will get to be with Jesus and that is a gift that often times seems far away. So how can we look at a world so filled with sadness and evil as a gift and not a curse? There is one answer and that answer is Jesus. He died for me and I long to express my gratitude every day by helping the people who are sad. So while I am here on this earth it is my desire to help others see the beauty the world offers instead of the sadness that Satan wants them to see. I do this by introducing them to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, who can heal all wounds. So when a person I know dies and I know that they love Jesus, I know I will miss them, but I rejoice in the gift they have been given. If I don’t, aren’t I only thinking of my own feelings? I believe that God saves some people from the pain and sadness of this world by giving them the gift of death. How can I be sad that they were saved? I ask the question again, am I broken more than most or it is it a gift from God? I will make sure I ask him that question when he decides it is time to save me from this world with the gift of death. Until then I will make sure to use his gift of life to help as many as I can to see that both life, and death, can be a gift.