Man finds common grief in death of a loved one, and sometimes he finds it difficult to cope with its aftermath. But life has to go on. Humans also can prevent some types of early deaths -- a young life snatched away before time when he/she becomes an accident victim, on the highway, swimming in rough seas, or merely an ignorant dip in the hotel's swimming pool away from the parents' momentary supervision.
When death strikes following a terminal illness, often the loved ones left behind to mourn the passing are more prepared -- mentally, psychologically, but nevertheless, a mourning period is good for the soul, and hopefully, time heals, as in all matters of the heart. Time, and the presence of other understanding hearts, help a mourning human cope with tragedy, whether victim of an earthquake, tsunami, or a bomb blast for being at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
But yet, death is often unnecessary and preventable -- to my mind, especially those caused by wars. Usually, it's human greed, pride at work, assisted along by the invisible hand of Satan, who appears in many and various forms, beguiling and rationalising. And often it's the folly of political leaders, misguided and tempted, who fail their fellow humankind.
To Every Thing There Is a Season
Many people, especially those of the Christian faith, would be aware that many hymns are indeed "poetic", usually made to rhyme, and hence easy and hearty to sing along. Many of the lyrics are basedon biblical verses, and some have been "popularised" into pop versions, and hence have caught on with the young ones too. Some are full of wisdom and provide deep insights into the human condition to be used as a compass to daily living for believers of the faith.
Today's writing is a humble tribute to the late Pope John Paul II, and we may not be present at the Vatican to bid farewell to a universally-loved spiritual leader, we can always treasure the legacy of love, peace and humanity he left behind.
Just to share some memorable lines popularised by Judy Collins on this sombre occasion, adapted from Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes (verses 1 to 8):
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted.
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
The cycle of opposites in every line is so apt in the story of humankind, as testified by history, that peace will surely follow war, and that only love can conquer hate. But the wisdom expressed in these verses is very difficult and rarely received by members of the human race, hence accounting for many of the current troubles and challenges besetting the world, including perhaps the long, unresolved issue of Israel and Palestine, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in the United States and subsequent conflicts, and the US engagement in Iraq.
May we review our daily life, national and international actions with Amazing Grace, and build more Bridges Over Troubled Water.