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)