Therefore, I haven’t had adequate discussion about death in my youth. My parents never prepared me about it as if it had nothing to do with us. However, death did come in our lives one day and hit me unexpectedly.
First encounter of death
The very first time that I encountered death was in my grandmother’s funeral 13 years ago. It was grandmother who brought me up while my parents were working in another province when I was little. I was used to having her around and always thought she would be with me for a long time.
During the summer of my first year in high school, I learnt the news that grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer and only had a few months to live.
In the beginning, we hid the diagnosis from her and she thought it was just a minor illness. However, she learnt about the fact somehow as her condition deteriorated dramatically. She was getting boney and feeble each day, until she couldn’t eat anything for days.
Grandmother left us in early autumn. I cried like never before that day. I felt like there was a hole in my heart and I could only chase the void away by hysterical crying. I dreamed of grandmother for several times that year, then once or twice in recent years. The first encounter of death struck me badly, leaving me in unprecedented sorrow and helplessness.
Latest encounter of death
I often thought that knowing Enying, an elder sister in church, was a great gift to me since grandmother passed away. Enying was one of the early believers in China during the time of Cultural Revelation. Her memory and hearing went bad in her late eighties. Despite her poor memory and health condition, she always remembered going to church on Sunday. She could still recited Psalm 23 and sang Psalm 150 two weeks before she passed away.
I learnt the news of Enying’s emergency treatment on one afternoon this June. I rushed to the hospital and waited outside of her ward, hoping to see her one more time. I recalled our shared memories and missed her very much. Enying eventually rested in peace as she always hoped for.
I sobbed but only without sorrow this time. The truth both Enying and I believed taught me that she is in a better place now. Death is never the end of our relationship. We shall meet in the kingdom of God one day.
Reflection of life and death
Enying’s life provoked me to think how should I live as a Christian. As a person running the race, what should I do to make the most of my life? When I see the Lord in heaven, will He commend me as a good and faithful servant?
Thank Jesus who provided the answer in his teaching and exemplified it for me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Matthew chapter 8, verses 35).
The way is specific yet opposite to what the world promotes. The life that I should die to is the old self which I couldn’t done away with until resurrection. As apostle Paul stated that we crucified the flesh, meaning the sinful nature, with its passions and desires.
As the follower of Jesus, death is no longer a strange topic. It is no more a fearful thing to talk about. Instead, it is an everyday decision about putting my selfish flesh to death. My life and death are no longer mine. I shall aim to honor Christ in my body, whether by life or by death.
Cindy Cheng was born and brought up in central China. Cindy enjoys travelling and reading history books. Cindy is inspired by talking with local people when travelling abroad experiencing different parts of the world, as well as herself.
Cindy’s previous articles may be found at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cindy-cheng.html