I wonder how much people think about death. I know I haven't a whole lot, and many of my peers haven't. Maybe this has to do with our younger age or maybe we just are a bit blasÃ©. However, life has recently provided a chance to reflect on these things.
Growing up I imagined life a little simplistically. Life was meant to be fun and enjoyable, and everything should make me happy. The more I've grown, the more I've realised that if you go through some pain, there often is a greater joy out the other side. Not always, but often there is.
For example, signing myself up to complete an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic. From the beginning, as a 16 year old, I found it really daunting moving out of home, making new friends, living in a strange town etc. Then there's getting used to working life and all that it entails. After the four years though, I had my Cert 3 and a qualification that can give me a job in any corner of the globe.
The payoff for the 'killing off' or moving out of home was worth it in the end. It wasn't easy, and I lost count really quickly how many times I thought about (and almost did) chucking it in. But in the end I was overjoyed and I was deeply satisfied because I stuck it out.
Looking back, imagine if I had stayed at home, continuing to go to school, even after completing year 12? I'd become pretty bored, wishing I could learn new things, but still being stuck in the same old place, with the same people, learning the same things over and over again.
Now looking at home life, there wasn't really anything wrong with it. I was valued, and I had a role to play as a part of family life. I had my school work, friends, church, youth group and other social life bits and pieces. All of this of course with its normal ups and downs. There is nothing abnormal about it.
But what changed when I imagined staying at home forever? Nothing did, so doesn't that mean that everything should be OK still? Shouldn't I have been able to live in the same setting, studying the same things, in the same family for the rest of my life?
Obviously, this wouldn't be good to do, and I don't think I could if I tried. But if we all know that such a scenario wouldn't be good for us, do we actually know why?
I think it has to do with seasons. Maybe you might call it a journey or time line, but basically the idea of a set path, for something or someone to take and it having a start and a finish.
Like the weather, if we always just had summer, or any other season for the whole year, the earth wouldn't receive the whole amount of nutrients it needs to live and thrive. Yes, it would receive some, but nowhere near the amount required.
Our lives have seasons too. These may be bigger or smaller ones, depending on what you are talking about. Maybe it's the season of going to school/uni and learning. This is a vital one for each of us but like I imagined, if we got stuck in it forever, it would stop being a good thing, and start holding us back from bigger and better things we were always meant to do.
The end of a season, is another way to look at death
At the end of these seasons, the only way to go on the next one is to finish off completely what you've done, so that you can focus and 'walk the next journey' or welcome the new season. The old has to finish, for the new one to come (this reminds me of 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17). This process of 'season ending' is really another way of looking at death.
Death is the finishing of something completely, the final stage in a season, the stopping, the killing of something so that it no longer lives. While this process can be really hard to go through, especially when involving people, I'm starting to realise that death isn't something bad and is not something evil. Death is a necessary part of life. Without it, we would become stuck in ruts, doing the same things over and over again.
Did you know that cancer can simply be described as the cells of your body continuing to reproduce (as they're supposed to) without the old ones dying off? Cancer is the body not 'killing off' cells as it is supposed to.
This has really made me re-look at Jesus' death. I wonder if we look at this in the same light, Jesus' death was necessary for us to live. Without his death, we would be stuck living lives nowhere near the fullness and the beauty of what we were meant to. Also, this must mean that our lives now can be incredible. If the whole of the Old Testament was looking forward to Jesus' death, then how awesome is the life he plans for us to live in now!!
Michael Enderby is currently an Intern with SU Victoria in their schools program, while studying a Diploma of Youth Work with Praxis Victoria. He has a heart and a passion for walking alongside youth and helping them realise their potential. He resides in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Michael Enderby's personal blog is here http://www.scot262wh.wordpress.com
His previous articles are at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-enderby.html