Dealing with Death


Do not go gentle
Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because there words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I do like Dylan Thomas's honesty.

My mother was not one to rage - just stoically and determinedly stick with it till the end. And for that I admire her. To her last moments, she had a smile (albeit weak) for the carers who attended her and she wrinkled her nose affectionately at us, her relatives, even though she was unable to speak.

The determined attempts to keep alive someone who is  imminently near to the end of their time on this earth does puzzle me. Well, not perhaps for those with little or no belief - for them Dylan Thomas's words may well be a balm. But for those who profess a Christian faith and a belief that there is something more wonderful after this earthly life, it does puzzle me. What are we so scared of? What am I so scared of? And does that fear say something about my faith - or lack of it?

These are all quite unnerving questions for a person of faith. And I have to go back to those words of Paul to quieten the stormy waves in my head.

Verses from Romans Chapter 8


Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 
So, I take time to pause, to be silent, to allow these words to swirl around my whole being. And, as I do, a sense of peace - almost serenity - seeps in slowly.

And that is, I guess, is faith.