Time to Go
Have you ever wished that it’s time to go Home? I hear my dad say it all too often. :P
I picked up a book yesterday. It was strangely entitled Veronika Decides to Die, by Paulo Coelho (the famous Brazilian author of The Alchemist). It’s about this woman who, although has a good life, decides she wants to die. Why?
The first reason: everything in her life was the same and, once her youth is gone, it would be downhill all the way. She would gain nothing by continuing to live; indeed, the likelihood of suffering only increased. The second reason was more philosophical: Veronika was well aware of what was going on in the world. Everything was wrong, and she had no way of putting things right – that gave her a sense of complete powerlessness.
So Veronika decides to die. She takes an overdose of sleeping pills and waits for death. But to her dismay, she wakes up some time later in Villette, a much-feared lunatic asylum. There she is told that although she is alive, her heart has been damaged and she has only 5 days to live…
Now you see why I instantly borrowed it! I love these sorta’ books. They make me think. The writers not only tell a story, they also had to do some soul-searching and have a message to share in a form of a well-spun story. However, this book is not what I intend to write about. Haha. Sorry, I didn’t think I would divert even before I started! :P
Well I am writing about a fearful thought that had transpired in my mind. It so happened that some nights ago, I woke up in the dead of the night. Usually I go back to sleep, but this time, my mind kept me awake. I found myself pondering over this thing for the next 1 hour before falling back to sleep. In my dreamy-but-conscious state, I was taken aback by the topic my mind pursued (at 4 am, mind you). A voice of my own spoke in my head, Do you fear death? ...Truthfully, I can’t say I’ve ever feared death. Because I’ve never even considered it a possibility! Like most young people, I think death is 70 years away – too far from my reality. I’m fearless. Am I not?
But for the first time, I was jolted by this question. Do I fear death? My mind continued: What if you die now…? For first time in my life, I actually considered the realness of it and I was afraid. If I die now, will I go to heaven? What if there is no heaven? Now I felt a real fear tugging at my heart. I really felt it.
To my dismay, it went on! What if you die now and end up in a forlorn place at a corner of eternity and you are all alone? In my mind’s eye, I imagined myself hovering in space, but with no stars, only darkness closing in. For a split second I felt a dreadful loneliness that was so crushing that I cried out to God. You promise you will never leave me!
At that point, I realized a shift in my understanding. I began to comprehend something I’ve never considered for myself. Death. I stopped in my tracks deliberately and decided to make something of this. If I fear death… (I suddenly realized that) all the more, I fear GOD! Truly, at that moment, I felt this fear of the realness of God. What happens when I die? Some people believe they disappear into nothingness; some believe in heaven. But is it just about going to heaven? Perhaps not.
Is it possible that one can live life as he pleases, doing “bad stuff”, then die and disappear into nothingness? Is that it? Take Hitler, (who I might say is an embodiment of evil itself): can he, by death, escape accountability for all the evil he has done and the suffering caused? No, I believe there’s no way anyone can escape accountability. I’m not talking about on earth, but after earth is done with.
Do you know why people feel outraged and demand justice when they read of murders, rapes, terrorist bombings, and all the horrible acts that rob the life of innocent children, women, men, and families? Why? Now, if we descended from apes and live by the code: “survival of the fittest”, we wouldn’t even think about doing justice to anyone! It’s even better if people die (in that sense, it’s ‘fair play’ cause’ they’re not fit enough to survive) and there’s higher chance of our survival.
YET, we know that’s pure nonsense because somehow, we care. We love; we want to love. We condemn evil. We want justice. And most ordinary folks want peace, not war. Yet we ourselves are not any good – we’re tainted, too. So deep down, we are depressed because we know something has gone terribly wrong in the world…
G.K. Chesterton said, “Bad is so bad, that we cannot but think good an accident; good is so good, that we feel certain that evil could be explained.”
I know there are still many other questions, like, “Why would God allow evil in our world?” That’s a stupid question though. God chose to give us free will, not to put a leash on us so we won’t do stupid things. WE allowed evil to seep in. WE have shut God out. Most people don’t want to believe in God. Yet when disaster strikes, they say, “Why did God allow this to happen?” Excuse me, God, being the perfect gentleman, has quietly backed out of our lives because we wanted it. Now who is to blame, really?
Continuing, the way we feel outraged by the evil we see in the world somehow points us to the One whom each of us will stand accountable to: the Most High God, our Righteous Judge. That only makes sense. We can’t just die and that’s it. Do you now see that we must live in light of eternity? There’s no other way. It’s life or death. Heaven or hell.
Now I’m reminded of a statement Jesus Christ made. It’s the most radical, out-of-this-world statement (that either classifies him as a lunatic or the real thing), “Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” There’s no other way to redemption, and eternity spent with God. The only other way (which is not an option at all) is the most dreadful and terrifying – it’s not hell, but an eternity separated from God.
“So let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.”
What else can better sum it up than this? At the end of my 4 am reflection of death and life after death, God brought those verses to my mind. Indeed, to fear God and to live by His ways is man’s all. Or else we live in vain, as the wise King Solomon said.