“Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill’ one will be taken and the other left.” – Matthew 24:40-41
Eight years ago, this very hour, my little brother died in a car accident. For an unknown reason, his truck swerved, toppled, and killed him instantly, but his passenger walked away. Seven and a half years ago, to the hour, I survived an accident that crushed my car between two others. Seventeen months ago marked the passing of a friend who survived an accident that claimed his fiancé, but his subsequent burns and infections left him a quadruple amputee with more skin grafts than natural skin. His birthday was today, so I remember. Three days ago my dear friends in Malawi narrowly avoided being crushed by a semi-truck that toppled right after their bus swerved into the grass to avoid it. They were returning from a training seminar I encouraged them to attend and raised funds for their transport. Last week I learned that my co-worker lost her son; childhood deaths are shockingly common in Malawi. Painfully common. In one year in Malawi two of my co-workers and my language tutor lost their brothers. How is it that an event that could break a family, or at least the family’s faith in America, happens every day with little ceremony in Malawi? How is it that my friends can talk about life and death as a natural part of life there when it is such an ultimate failure of medicine in America? We fight to prevent it, then we bury it deep, not sure that we can daily live with our wounds. Beth Moore says, “If there is an awareness at the time of death, there is pain. Simply put, death hurts.” I know that death is a sign of the brokenness in our world. I know that death isn’t forever. But I remain baffled at the confidence-shattering finality of death in this world. It makes you re-think priorities, value the present, let go of the past. I no longer dream about my brother, waking only to reconcile subconscious wishes with conscious reality. But try to remember, I try to live here and now in a way that won’t lead to regrets. And I look forward to an eternity when we can be reunited with our loved ones.