Saturday, February 17, 2007

Die with dignity

Every Monday evening my friend, our Pastor and I agreed to visit people in our area. The people we are paying a visit would be new believers, church goers or church members. We do our visits in early evening. I kinda enjoy the visits because it is the time when we talk with friends and a chance for us to know them better. It’s funny because we communicate with each other in three languages—Thai, Burmese and English—mixed together.

One Monday, we visited two church members who are working in a resort. The resort is actually a motel where people rent rooms and stay for a night. I still couldn’t understand why the Thais could it a resort.

Anyway, after a short lively talk, we sang songs and I assumed the Pastor gave a sermon; and he did it without opening his Bible. Then we prayed aloud together for the two persons. These stuffs can be done in a Christian country and nobody will mind. But in a Buddhist country, this definitely made people wonder and attract some kind of interest from the onlookers.

One of the workers invited us to pray for a 96-year old man, apparently, the patriarch of the owners of the resort. So we obliged to go and pay a visit to the old man. We went in and we were in for a shock of our lives by what we saw. The old man is a virtual living skeleton, skins and bones, blind. He was sleeping and the toothless gaping mouth has been that way for a long time. There was a hole in his neck where he was obviously breathing and when we were there he coughed and fluid came out from that hole. He was being fed through a tube connected to his tummy. He was groaning. He could not move, I could tell that he has bed sores. A care taker was doing the moving for him. He exercised old man’s arms and legs.

I couldn’t understand it. Why is he being kept alive by the family (who seems to have abandoned him) when the fact is he could have died a better death ten years earlier? What’s the point? If this man had a choice, I can tell, he wants death. We were asked to pray and all I could mutter is Lord let this poor man die... Life is short indeed, and if we desire to live longer than the appointed time, we will die a worse and undignified death.

Moltmann rightly states that " our (present) activist society has elevated youth into an ideal to a positively comic degree; now it is time to rediscover the dignity of age. Death has been viewed merely as a tiresome nuisance; now there are reasons for once more learning ... the art of dying, so that we may die with dignity."

Here I remember the word of the preacher...
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. 9What profit hath he that works in that wherein he labors? (Ecclesiastes 3:1-9)


Bro. Bartleby said...

The tree rustled. It had made music before they were born, and would continue after their deaths, but its song was of the moment.
--E. M. Forster

Joey said...

Hi Bro.

nice to hear from you and indeed what a profound quote.

God bless!