During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them. Revelation 9:6 (NIV)
While I sometimes grieve the negative consequences that come with our rapidly evolving technology age, I also fully appreciate the incredible positives it affords us. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been given the opportunity in recent weeks to quietly walk alongside some longtime dear friends as they offer palliative care to a mother who is in the homestretch of her journey. I have been touched daily by the lessons they are sharing from the experience on Facebook, and I get to offer prayers of support from afar.
My friends’ experience has brought to mind many memories and has stirred some emotional pools which have stood still for several years. I recall sitting quietly by my grandparent’s beds in the watches of the night. There are others who I had the privilege of standing beside in their final days. Watching and listening as someone expels their last breath puts a lot of things into sudden perspective.
Equally sobering to me are a few whom I knew who were anxious for Death’s visit, but not because of the joy they knew by faith was imminent. Their souls running so empty of Life, their bodies failing and in pain, they could think of little else but to plead for what they deemed would be mercifully quick finish and an end of suffering. Period.
All these thoughts and memories rumbling around in my soul this morning as I read of John’s vision of judgment when, as Bob Dylan paraphrased it, “men will beg God to kill them, but they won’t be able to die.”
Some mornings as I sit and type my thoughts I have more questions than answers. I have all these thoughts and emotions spinning around in my heart and mind like leaves in the wind, but nothing seems to land as I’d like it to do. This is one of those mornings. I think of my grandparents. I relive long stagnant memories. I remember the sound of aspiration. I think of Death’s inevitable visit for all of us, and the tragedy of longing for it, not because it leads to life, but because it simply ends the suffering. I pray for friends who are also wrestling with their own thoughts and emotions regarding such things, and am thankful that technology allows me to share in their journey.